A SUPPORT worker got drunk at an Abba tribute night and abused a blind woman with learning difficulties by force-feeding her cheesecake.
Anna Stevenson, 35, a worker with independent social care company Care UK, put the woman in a chokehold at Aberfoyle’s Rob Roy Hotel.
She then “shovelled” cheesecake in her mouth and called her a pig and a greedy bastard, Stirling Sheriff Court was told.
The incident was witnessed by a retired senior social care assistant, a retired palliative care nurse and a former social work carer all sitting within a few feet of her in the hotel dining room.
The three witnesses were so shocked that they told the hotel manager and police were called.
Stevenson, said by police to be unsteady on her feet and slurring her words, was interviewed over a five-hour period while officers checked on the well-being of her victim and another vulnerable adult in her care.
Stevenson, from Shotts, Lanarkshire, “a relevant person” under the 2003 Health and Social Care Act, was found guilty after summary trial of wilfully neglecting a patient in her care, failing to respect her dignity, using abusive, demeaning and insulting language to her, putting her arm round her neck, and force-feeding her.
The court heard the incident occurred after Stevenson and another Care UK worker had taken the blind woman and another woman with learning difficulties for a night at the Rob Roy on 1 February last year.
By the time dinner began, Stevenson’s behaviour was attracting the attention of other guests. One witness, Helen Fearon, 66, who was at the hotel with three friends and was seated at the same table as the Care UK group, said: “You could tell right away that she was really drunk.”
Ms Fearon, a retired senior social carer specialising in the care of older people, said that at one point both carers left the vulnerable women on their own.
“One of the vulnerable women said ‘they have gone away and left us, and we’re not supposed to be left by ourselves’,” Ms Fearon said. “We sort of ascertained then that they were carers and service users. They were gone more than five minutes – it could have been ten.
“Then the waiters served the sweet course and put a dessert in front of the blind lady.”
Stevenson, she said, then “came round behind her and put her in a choke hold”.
She said: “It’s the only way I can describe it. Her arm was round the blind woman’s neck. She was shovelling dessert into her mouth and calling her a greedy bastard.
“She was drunker than I first ascertained her to be. There was nothing funny about it – she wasn’t laughing, she was quite serious.”
Ms Fearon said she challenged Stevenson, whom, she said, replied: “How dare you, how f***ing dare you.”
She said Stevenson then turned to the other vulnerable adult, told her they were “getting flung out”, and left.
The other carer then left as well, with the blind woman.
Retired palliative care nurse Julie-Anne Meek, who was also sitting close by, said Stevenson was “barking like a dog” and saying to the blind woman, “look at the state of you, you’re an embarrassment”.
Sheriff William Gilchrist fined Stevenson £500. He said: “I find it difficult to understand how three independent witnesses within feet of this incident could possibly have all misunderstood what was happening.”
He added: “People do behave strangely and badly when under the influence of alcohol and the only conclusion I can reach is that it was because the accused had too much to drink.”
Stevenson wept as he added: “I am satisfied that what you did was out of character.”
The court heard Stevenson had given up her job and would never work in the sector again.
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