Mental health nurse carried out 'horrendous acts' on dementia patients in his care

A mental health nurse has been convicted after he abused the dementia patients he was suppose to protect in what police have called an ‘appalling and despicable case’.

Saturday, 21st December 2019, 4:08 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd December 2019, 9:44 am
Alastair Quinn

More than 30 witnesses joined forces to help bring cruel nurse Alastair Quinn, 58, of Waldridge Road, Chester-le-Street, to justice.

Witnesses said Quinn knocked a elderly man to the floor on more than one occasion and told one witness he wished a patient ‘hurry up and die’ as he laid on his death bed.

Quinn denied the offences but on Thursday, December 19, a jury at Newcastle Crown Court found him guilty of eight charges of carer ill treatment/neglect of a person lacking capacity.

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From 2012 to 2016, Quinn worked as a mental health nurse for a care home in the Birtley area. He was the nurse in charge of the 24/7 dementia care unit, caring for vulnerable and elderly residents.

But while in charge his treatment of vulnerable patients started to alarm fellow employees who say they witnessed a range of disturbing incidents.

One witness says she saw Quinn purposely knock an elderly man, who was harmlessly singing, to the floor.

Witnesses reported other occasions where the same victim, who was described as a gentleman by other staff, was knocked to the floor by Quinn including one time where he used so much force the patient cut his head.

They also reported hearing screams from the man’s bathroom when Quinn showered him.

Other incidents included unnecessarily restraining other residents at the care home, frequently roughly picking up harmless patients and putting them in their rooms for no apparent reason and pushing a resident over when she wouldn’t take her medication.

One witness reports Quinn told them he wished a patient would ‘hurry up and die’ as he lay on his death bed and referred to another in a derogatory name to his face frequently.

Former co-workers went on record to say they believed Quinn wanted to work on a dementia ward to use the residents’ confused state of mind to get away with his behaviour, knowing it was harder for patients to coherently complain.

The officer in charge of the case, Detective Constable Karin McMorrow, said: “This an appalling and despicable case of a nurse, someone who was duty bound to protect the most vulnerable people, who abused his position and trust to carry out these horrendous acts on a number of dementia sufferers in his care.

"The victims were unable to disclose their abuse to their families and have suffered in silence. Quinn believed he would be able to hide his callous behaviour behind the veiled excuse that those he cared for were not credible sources and were simply confused.

“I am full of praise to all the witnesses who came forward to help with this investigation. It’s clear that while in charge Quinn was a manipulative and deceitful nurse, often lying to protect himself or blaming others, and the bravery of all those who came forward should be commended.

“I would also like to express my gratitude to the families of all these victims, who have no doubt suffered significantly with the emotional impact of this abuse to their loved ones, yet remained dignified and supportive throughout this investigation.

“Here at Northumbria Police our priority is to protect the vulnerable and we take such cases very seriously.“I hope this serves as a deterrent to others in a position of trust that if they abuse that trust or participate in any sort of criminal behaviour, then they will be caught and be brought before the courts.”

Quinn is due to be sentenced early next year on January 9.