‘Witch’ nurse pleads guilty to assaulting care home residents

A SENIOR nurse in charge of a care home for the elderly was called “a witch” after slapping a resident to wake her up, a court has heard.

Paisley Sheriff Court heard yesterday that staff at the Westlea Care Home in Neilston, Renfrewshire, were shocked by Margaret Richmond’s conduct.

It was claimed that Richmond, 54, of Gateside, North Ayrshire, carried out five assaults on elderly women aged between 74 and 88 over a ten-month period in 2007 and 2008.

After hearing damning evidence from a care officer, Richmond offered to plead guilty to two of the five charges and the Crown accepted her plea.

That came after care assistant Helen Young, 54, broke down and cried as she recalled several incidents and said it was upsetting to remember what she had witnessed. On one occasion, she said, Richmond stamped on the foot of an elderly resident who walked with the aid of a stick.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Mrs Young said, but conceded that she had subsequently wondered, “to give her the benefit of the doubt”, if the contact might not have been accidental. However, the incident left her feeling uncomfortable when on duty with Richmond.

An elderly resident who would not stay in her bed at night was taken to the dining room at about 11:30pm and seated in a bucket chair for her own safety as members of staff, including the accused, enjoyed a cup of tea.

“Margaret Richmond got up and walked past her and … hit her over the head, saying ‘if you’re not sleeping in your bed, you’re not sleeping in the chair’,” Mrs Young said. “After she slapped the wee lady on the head, it woke her up and she called her a witch.”

Sheriff Neil Douglas deferred sentence until 15 February for background reports.