Woman force fed elderly mum

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  • Daughter was prime carer but had help from other care workers
  • As well as force feeding, Karen Woodward also allegedly kicked 83-year-old mother on the ankle
  • Court hears another care worker asked to be taken off the rota after witnessing treatment
  • Victim had suffered a stroke in February 2011 and needed assistance for basic needs

AN ELDERLY stroke victim was force-fed food and liquids by her own daughter in front of care workers, a court heard.

Karen Woodward also allegedly kicked her 83-year-old mum Julia on the ankle, the Liverpool Crown Court jury was told.

The least experienced of the care workers said it was horrible to watch and she had to leave

Henry Riding - prosecuting

Opening the prosecution case Henry Riding said that watching Woodward holding her mother’s nostrils to make her open her mouth to force feed her was the final straw for concerned carers and they told their boss.

Woodward, 48, of Gerrards Close, Aspull, is denying four offences of ill-treating a person lacking capacity.

Mr Riding told the jury that Julia Woodward suffered a stroke in February 2011 which left her needing assistance for all her basic needs.

Her daughter was her prime carer but she was assisted with care workers coming in several times a day, particularly while she was out at work.

Sometimes two carers were needed at the same time as happened on July 7 last year and they found Woodward “forcing drink down her mother’s throat causing her to choke,” he alleged.

Her mother had difficulty swallowing and had to have her food liquidized or broken into small pieces.

Woodward had a habit of giving her mother something to drink while she was on the toilet to make her cough as it assisted her in urinating, claimed Mr Riding.

“A care worker described Julia Woodward as having her head down and the defendant pushed her head backwards forcibly using the palm of one hand using it to keep it backwards.

“She poured drink into her mouth causing her to gag as she tried to swallow but it continued to be poured in for 10 to 15 seconds until her mother was forced to spit it out.

“The least experienced of the care workers said it was horrible to watch and she had to leave,” said Mr Riding.

Two days later one of the carers, Gail Lowton, with a different colleague was back and they had trouble getting Julia Woodward to open her mouth for her food and one went to tell her daughter.

“Her response was to became angry and she had a nowty voice saying, ‘there is only way to get this down her’.

She came into the room, pinched her nose by the nostrils forcing her mother to open her mouth and began spooning food into her mouth. It was effective force feeding,” alleged Mr Riding.

“That seemed to be the final straw and one reported the matter to her superiors of the care company ... and the matter was brought to the attention of the police,” he added.

Social workers became involved and Julia Woodward was moved to a residential home and her daughter charged by police.

The court heard that Gail Lowton also recalled an earlier incident in March last year when a hoist was being used to get the complainant on the toilet. She moved her leg causing potential danger and Woodward reacted “by shouting at her directly in her face and kicked out on her ankle.

“She also recalled it was the defendant’s habit to pour drink down her mother’s throat so as to get her to cough to get her to urinate on the toilet,” added Mr Riding.

He told the jury that three of the charges that Woodward denies involve the alleged incidents on July 7 and 9 and the ankle incident in March.

The other charge relates to other incidents of her forcing drink down her mother’s throat between January and July last year.

A senior care worker employed by the same Wigan firm, Combined Care Services, Lesley McGuinness, told the jury that on the evening of July 9 she received a phone call from a colleague who then forwarded her a text from Gail Lowton saying, “I’m sorry, I can’t go into the Woodwards’ ever again, it’s not right, it is too upsetting.

“Please take me off the rota otherwise I’ll have to give my notice in, I’m sorry I love my job.”

Miss McGuinness said that she advised her colleague to contact the Safeguarding authorities because “it’s abuse.”