A Birmingham pensioner allegedly force-fed talcum powder by carers has won a five-figure payout from the agency that hired them, writes Emma Brady.
Lucy Neal, aged 89, from Handsworth, required full-time care after she suffered a severe brain haemorrhage in October 2002, which left her wheelchair-bound and with serious dementia.
Three carers from Welcome Care Agency, based in Winson Green, were cleared of common assault against the pensioner in February 2004.
But a district judge at Birmingham magistrates' court told Nordia Noteman, then aged 25, of Bratt Street, West Bromwich, Rosemarie Malvo, aged 27, of Willis Road, Winson Green, and Maxine Davidson, aged 36, of Warstone Terrace, Handsworth, that their care had fallen below acceptable standards.
Mrs Neal, who moved from Handsworth into her son Joseph's Willenhall home, still suffers flashbacks to the incidents and is very nervous around people.
The agency was shut down by the Commission for Social Care Inspection in 2004.
Mr Neal said he felt his mother's case highlighted the need for more stringent checks to be made of all care staff.
The 65-year-old said: "While this payout, which is a lot more than we had been expecting, will make a big difference to my mother's life, I really hope her case will highlight the need for tighter regulation in the care industry."
He added: "She still suffers from flashbacks and is very wary of people, she'll flinch or pull away.
It's heartbreaking to see how she's still suffering. I hope the industry has learnt some lessons from this."
Rankeshwar Batta, the family's solicitor from law firm Anthony Collins, said the undisclosed settlement had been reached after considering the extent of the psychological effects on Mrs Neal and whether there had been neglect.
He said: "Mrs Neal was a relatively independent lady for her age, but the haemorrhage left her needing full-time care.
"While the majority of carers in this country do an excellent job, in often difficult and demanding circumstances, the care she received was atrocious.
" Although such situations are relatively rare, people should not be afraid to speak up."