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Folkestone: No jail for care worker who tied up elderly patient

Piotr Szewcow was given 150 hours of community service at Maidstone Crown Court
Piotr Szewcow was given 150 hours of community service at Maidstone Crown Court

A CARE worker who ill-treated an elderly patient by strapping up his arms and legs has escaped a jail sentence.

Piotr Szewcow had previously been told by a judge that the maximum sentence he would impose was four months imprisonment.

But when the 22-year-old Polish national returned to court on Wednesday Judge Jeremy Carey said he could "just" avoid custody.

Maidstone Crown Court heard that Szewcow had only been working at St Clair’s residential home in Claremont Road, Folkestone, for three weeks and received little training.

Danny Moore, prosecuting, said another care worker in November last year heard shouting, crying and screaming coming from the lounge.

When she went to investigate she found 76-year-old Maurice Davis, who suffered from dementia, strapped to a chair.

Szewcow said he did it because it was good for him. The other care worker saw that Mr Davis was going red in the face and told Szewcow to release him.

Mr Moore said: "Unfortunately, that led to him falling on the floor. She said to let him stay there and she would return to him when she had finished other duties.

"Twenty minutes later, she heard more crying and returned to the lounge and found Mr Davis still on the floor with his hands and ankles bound together with straps.

"Again, the defendant said he was doing what was good for him. He dragged him along the corridor to his room. The defendant was told to release him, which he did."

His colleague went about other duties and later checked on Mr Davis. Szewcow was watching television and Mr Davis was still bound at his knees and ankles. He was sweating.

Mr Davis has since died of natural causes.

The prosecutor said Szewcow, of Cheriton Road, Folkestone, was arrested and when interviewed he said the victim had fallen previously and when taken to hospital had been restrained with straps by paramedics.

One of the ambulance men, he said, told him that it was good for him. But it was confirmed that no advice had been given to Szewcow.

Nathan Palmer, defending, said Szewcow, who admitted false imprisonment, now worked at the Grand Hotel as a barman and was also a cleaner at South Kent College in the town.

"This case is desperately sad," he said. "He has a history of helping others who are disadvantaged. This whole episode was a huge misjudgement and miscalculation and out of character."

Imposing 150 hours community punishment and ordering payment of £500 costs, Judge Carey told Szewcow he had reconsidered the matter and, despite the seriousness of the offence, had decided there was an alternative to prison.

"Although I accept there was gross misjudgement on your part, it was misjudgment which was persistent, even though your colleague told you to stop your strapping up of this elderly and demented patient," he said.

"Even though you agreed to do so, you persisted in that practice over a period of some hours and you dragged this old man along the floor while he was strapped up."

The judge added: "It is hard for anyone to understand how a decent law-abiding person can act in a seemingly callous way. I accept this was out of character and will not be repeated."

It was obvious, he said, that Szewcow should not be allowed to work as a carer without adequate training.

"You should be punished for your criminality and you will be," he added.

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