Male nurse sat on autistic woman for 'a bit of fun'
Published 08/01/2016 | 02:30
A clinical nurse manager caught on camera sitting on a severely autistic woman told a court his actions were "playful interaction" and "a bit of fun".
Pat McLoughlin (56), Lalibela, Mayfield, Claremorris, Co Mayo, is one of five care workers charged with assault of residents at áras Attracta in Swinford, Co Mayo in November 2014.
Another defendant, agency worker Anna Ywunong Botsimbo (34), Low Park Avenue, Charlestown Co Mayo, was filmed pulling Miss A by the hoodie and steering her back to her chair. She told gardaí she had done what she was shown to do by other staff members.
When asked if she found that acceptable, she replied: "Of course it's not, but that is how I was shown to do it."
Castlebar District Court heard how another staff member worked for more than two years as a care worker in the unit without proper qualifications. Christina Delaney (35), Seefinn, Lissatava, Hollymount, Co Mayo, was also caught on camera sitting on Miss A.
She originally worked in the canteen from 2003 to 2006 before being appointed a health care assistant. However, she did not obtain the relevant qualifications until around 2009.
She told the court she had been trying to keep Miss A "in a safe zone and to keep her safe".
Mr McLoughlin, a Clinical Nurse Manager in Bungalow 3, told the court he sat on Miss A after she struck him twice on the back but this was not caught on camera. He said his actions were an attempt to defuse the situation. "I thought I'd get to the chair before she did, but she actually did. I sat down partially on her and partially on the chair. I was just having a bit of playful interaction," he added.
Martin Maguire, Clinical Nurse Specialist at áras Attracta, told the court none of the actions were acceptable.
The court heard Ms A had a history of self-harming and an invasive supervision plan was put in place to stop this. Mr Maguire said this plan did not explain the actions of the defendants.
The court heard that Ms A has since been moved to a residence where she lives alone and her self-harming had improved.
"I have no record that Ms A has engaged in any self-injurious behaviour in her new residence," he added.
Counsel for the defence said the evidence fell short of the standard required for a conviction on assault. Judge Mary Devins reserved judgment on the cases of Mr McLoughlin and Ms Delaney. She adjourned the third case to consider an application for dismissal.