Southampton Briars care home bosses guilty of neglect

The owner and manager of a Southampton care home have been found guilty of ill-treating and neglecting residents.

Annette Hopkins, 63, who owned Briars Retirement Home, and Margaret Priest, 54, faced charges relating to the care of 16 people aged between 77 to 96.

Hopkins was found guilty on 10 charges of wilful neglect and Priest on four.

Southampton Crown Court heard how residents were left in soiled sheets for lengthy periods, were underweight and suffered painful bed sores.

Hopkins, of Thorold Road, Bitterne, and Priest, of Lydgate Green, Hightown, who had denied 16 charges, will be sentenced at a later date.

The judge directed the jury to acquit them on three charges and the jury acquitted the pair on the remaining charges.

Briars Retirement Home was closed last September.

Ruth Bowskill, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “The treatment received by residents at the Briars care home in Bitterne Park, Southampton, was far below what they deserved.

“They were gravely let down by the owner, Annette Hopkins, and manager, Margaret Priest, who had a duty of care but who denied any wrongdoing.”

An investigation into the home was triggered by staff at Southampton General Hospital after the admission to hospital of one of the residents last year.

Ms Bowskill said: “All of the residents involved in this case were vulnerable and lacked the mental capacity to make decisions relating to their personal care needs.

“They totally relied on staff at The Briars, but some residents were found to be underweight, with gaps in their records relating to medication and food charts. This meant they were suffering pain and dehydration.”