Managers On Trial After Care Home Resident Choked To Death

The deputy manager of a care home where a young resident choked to death on a ham sandwich was secretly doing another job at the time, a court was told today.

Patience Etchu-Abangma, 53, from Enfield, north London, had not told her employer she had a second job working in a school, Wood Green Crown Court in north London was told.

She told the court she was at the school when she received a phone call about the incident, Judge Peter Ader said, summing up.

While she was absent from The Chine Care Home in Enfield, resident Jesse Moores, 26, from Friern Barnet, north London, was found lying motionless in his room.

A piece of sandwich the size of a golf ball was stuck in his throat, the court has been told.

Mr Moores was autistic, hyperactive, suffered from Tourette’s syndrome and had a history of choking. Etchu-Abangma is on trial alongside the care home manager, Gideon Attram, 49, of Shepherds Bush, west London, for failing in their health and safety duty towards Mr Moores.

Both deny the charge.

Etchu-Abangma has said she was not meant to be on duty at the care home at the time of the incident on November 3 2005, as she was on the rota to do a late shift.

She agreed to come in as the home was short staffed that morning, she said.

But she explained that after coming in she told staff she was going out to do some shopping in Boots.

In fact she was nowhere near the shop but was at the school in Walthamstow when she received a call about Mr Moores, she told the court.

She had left the residents of the home in the care of two agency care workers, one of whom turned out to be an illegal immigrant with no first aid training, the court has been told.

Etchu-Abangma said she did not know the care worker, who was working under the false name of Chinelo Adepitan, had no first aid training.

Attram was expected to be there though, which was why she went out, she said.

But Attram said he was on annual leave that week and denied saying he would come into work.

The prosecution has accused him of failing to revise the risk assessment in the light of Mr Moores’ choking problem.

Attram said he was not properly trained to do so.

Robinia the company that ran the care home, has pleaded guilty to three counts of failing to comply with its health and safety duty and the care home was closed down after the tragedy.

The jury retired today to consider its verdict on Etchu-Abangma and Attram.