I Did Not Assault My Deputy, Says Care Home Boss
A Former Lieutenant-Colonel in the Royal Marines who now runs a Gloucester charity home for the mentally-ill has denied assaulting his deputy manager at a heated staff meeting.
Director of Barnwood House Trust, 55-year-old Julian Baxter, has pleaded not guilty to assaulting Pamela Bowen.
Emotions were high as the closure of a bungalow unit for elderly patients suffering from severe dementia and possible job losses were on the agenda.
Father-of-three Baxter took the stand on the second day of his trial before Cheltenham magistrates yesterday.
Charity trustees have already cleared the defendant of misconduct at the meeting in October last year.
Baxter, who lives at The Park, Cheltenham, told the court that his deputy manager kept interrupting him and disrupted the proceedings.
He admitted asking Pamela Bowen to leave the meeting “in a robust manner” but went on: “It is absolutely not true that I touched her in any way – any sort of violence in staff meetings is absolutely inappropriate.
“Of course I did not grab her or pull her arm.
“I slid the coffee table to one side to clear a way for her to get out, told her that enough was enough and that she would have to leave.
“I gestured to the door with my left hand.”
Defence barrister Nadeem Aullybocus told the court that his client had been offered a caution by the police, which would have prevented the necessity of a trial and possible criminal conviction, but he declined.
Mr Aullybocus: “Why didn’t you accept a caution?”
Baxter: “I am not prepared to admit to something I did not do.”
In evidence, care home domestic Sandra Bevan said: “Pamela Bowen interrupted Mr Baxter three or four times and he told her to sit down, but she still went on talking.
“So Mr Baxter got up from his chair, went over and moved the coffee table and told Pam that she would have to leave.
“We would have gone to rescue her if she had been manhandled in any way – you cannot put up with that.”
Former care assistant Michelle Wilkins said: “When Mr Baxter came into the room everybody started firing questions at him and Pam was very argumentative towards him.
“People were shouting about the bungalow being closed and Pam kept arguing so he asked her to leave the room.
“He stood up, walked across the room and gestured towards the door for her to leave.”
Mr Aullybocus: “Did you see Julian Baxter grab Pam by the upper arm and try to pull her out of her seat?”
Miss Wilkins: “No – I’m certain Mr Baxter did not touch Pam.”
In his evidence, head gardener Brian Dean said: “No way did Mr Baxter grab her arm or pull her. He definitely did not touch her.”
Baxter is temporarily suspended from his post at the Trust until the outcome of the court proceedings.
The trial was adjourned until March 4 and Baxter was granted unconditional bail.