Care home boss ‘told police “s*** happens” after autistic resident choked’

A care home boss told police ‘s*** happens in our business’ after a resident choked to death on a ham sandwich, a court heard today.

Glen von Malachowski made the remark as he was being interviewed by officers over the death of Jesse Moores.

Mr Moores, 26, who was autistic, hyperactive and suffered from Tourette’s syndrome, had a history of choking.

Robinia, the company that ran The Chine home, in Enfield, north London, was today fined £250,000 after admitting three counts of failing to comply with its health and safety duty.

The deputy manager of the home, Patience Etchu-Abangma, 53, from Enfield, was convicted at Wood Green Crown Court of one count of breaching her health and safety duty.

During the trial it emerged she had left Mr Moores with two agency care workers, one of whom was an illegal immigrant, while she went off to do her secret second job.

She said she was not meant to be on duty at the home at the time of the incident, as she was on the rota to do a late shift.

She said she’d come in because the home was short-staffed, but then left to go to a school in Walthamstow where she had another job, of which she had not told her employer.

Care home manager Gideon Attram, 49, of Shepherds Bush, west London, who was on trial for the same offence, was found not guilty.

He had repeatedly pleaded with his bosses for help as the home was short-staffed, even tendering his resignation over the issue, but nothing was done, the court was told.

Peter Harrison QC, prosecuting, told the court that Mr von Malachowski, who was then deputy chief executive of Robinia, told police officers: ‘S*** happens in our business unfortunately.’

Mr von Malachowski also told police Robinia ‘deeply regrets what had happened and also later regretted using the phrase’.

The prosecutor claimed the company had put ‘profit before safety’ in the case.

He said that on the day of the incident on November 3, 2005, the home was short-staffed and some of the employees were not properly trained.

He said: ‘This defendant (Robinia) fell a long way short of the expected standards, in particular failing to heed warnings not only from their own employees, but from the regulatory authority.

‘These failings were never put right, they just closed the home.’

Tony Metzer, defending Etchu-Abangma, said the consequences for her conviction were ‘devastating’.

He said she would never be able to work in the care industry, in relation to vulnerable adults or children, and it was unlikely she would able to continue in teaching.

‘She is genuinely distraught by Mr Moores’ death,’ he said.

Clive Fletcher-Wood, for the company, said: ‘Robinia accepts there was a failing in the next level of supervision above the home.’

He said the company, which runs 90 homes, disputed it was a case of profit before safety.

Etchu-Abangma will be sentenced later today.