Care worker’s threat to break teenager’s legs

A FORMER social care worker denies locking a teenager in a cupboard but admits threatening to break his legs.

Samantha Pascoe, formerly employed by Neath Port Talbot Council in Neath’s Hillside Secure Unit, is accused of breaching the Code of Practice for Social Care Workers by allegedly behaving inappropriately towards a 16-year-old in her care.

In mitigation it was heard that the boy, referred to as A, was “very difficult to manage” and the most challenging individual in the care system.

The opening day of the hearing, held at Swansea’s Village Hotel, saw Mrs Pascoe face three charges relating to two separate dates, when it is alleged she shouted at A in a threatening and aggressive manner, used inappropriate language and locked him in a cupboard.

The first incident took place on or about February 13, 2010, when A was banging on the office window as the unit’s staff changed shifts. Appearing as a witness fellow unit worker Deborah Morgan said of Mrs Pascoe: “Out of the blue she jumped up, opened the door and screamed at A, ‘If you do that again I will cut your F****** legs off.’ I was very shocked at Sam’s actions. I had never heard anyone ever talk to a young person in the unit like that before.”

Mrs Pascoe’s barrister, Mark Whitcombe, told the hearing his client does not accept that she used the F-word and maintains she said ‘Do that again and I will break your legs’.

He added: “As far as the swearing is concerned I would suggest she didn’t swear, she raised her voice slightly but was not shouting. Overall it was firm but not aggressive.”

Mrs Pascoe later apologised to young person A for what she had said. Another witness, Sarah Duncanson, said: “I believe the registrant was targeted by A, she had just returned from maternity leave, she was tired and her baby was unwell at the time.”

Of the cupboard incident, thought to have taken place sometime between December 2009 and April 2010 fellow assistant leader, Ryan Phillips, told the hearing: “She said something like, ‘I have locked A in the shoe cupboard, he was prating about.’

“I wouldn’t have locked anybody in there, it’s unprofessional and an abuse of A. I’m not sure how long he was in there.”

Asked about A’s behaviour he admitted: “A was a difficult young person to manage who had suffered horrific abuse as a child.”

Mr Phillips could not recall the exact date of the conversation and admitted he didn’t report it at the time.

Mr Whitcombe, pointed to Mrs Pascoe’s version of events, as outlined in her statement, saying: “One of the young people asked her what she did to boys when they misbehaved, she answered jokingly that she locked them in a cupboard.”

The hearing was set to continue today.