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Husband and wife jailed for neglect

21 Nov 2017

A husband and wife who worked as carers have been jailed after admitting ill-treatment of an elderly vulnerable woman in Ely.

Viorel Constantin, 28, and Cristina-Alexandra Constantin, 26, were arrested on 30 October this year after police received allegations that the pair had been neglecting one of their service users, an 88-year-old woman.

The Constantins were caught on 30 October after the victim’s son set up a camera in his mother’s home after he had concerns they weren’t washing her properly.

The footage showed the victim being pushed and pulled about, a hoist not always being used to move her, and Viorel Constantin poking at her nose, pulling her head from one side to another.

Concerns were immediately raised with Midas Care, the company who provided the care for his mother, who then contacted Cambridgeshire police.

The following afternoon (31 October) the couple were arrested and charged with wilfully neglecting a person without capacity.

The pair, both of Main Street in Witchford, Ely, pleaded guilty to the charge at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court on 1 November.

In a statement to police, the victim’s son said: “My mum is the most important person in my life. If I didn't care about her, I would have moved on in my life a long time ago and, maybe, she would now have been in a home. Thankfully, I can do what many can't, and work from home and be a carer, though of course, it is restricting. But I am here because I care and love her. Every day when I hear the carers come in in the morning and hear the clatter of the bed and them going about their business, I thank God that they are not calling up the stairs to me "Come quickly. Your mum..." I know that day will come and I dread it. But until then, I tell her each day that she's more of a blessing to me today than she was yesterday or even 30 years ago. I tell her that she is greatly loved and that I'll have her forever!

“I saw footage of supposed carers pulling and pushing her nose, having a laugh at her expense, saying things to her which she hears but can't respond to, ‘throwing’ her from one side of the bed to the other as if, as another carer put it, she were a sack of potatoes. In this couple's report of what happened on their tea time call, they said that this ‘touching’ of the nose was innocent and to get a reaction because "the customer doesn't talk, doesn't do anything". Well, so what if she doesn't talk or do anything! She is alive and she can still hear, understand and has thoughts and emotions.

“I am thankful that I am here and could defend my defenceless mum against them. I'm thankful for the swiftness that everyone has worked on this case.”

Today (Tuesday, 21 November) they appeared at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court and were sentenced to six months in prison and ordered to pay a total of £865 in fines.

Detective Sergeant Mark Little, from the Adult Abuse Investigation and Safeguarding Unit (AAISU), said: “Understandably the victim’s son was shocked and angry by what he saw. His mother does not have the capacity to look after herself and requires professional care.

“There is an expectation that your loved one will be properly looked after and cared for when putting their care in the hands of professionals, and sadly the Constantins fell below these expectations and let themselves and their contractors down.”

Anyone who has concerns about the care adult family members are receiving is advised to contact police by either calling 101 or report online via www.cambs.police.uk/report. We have a specialist adult abuse investigation unit who will take your reports seriously and will investigate where there is any indication of criminal activity.

For further advice around this subject please visit our vulnerable adults protection page.

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