Workers sacked after elderly woman’s death

THREE council employees have been sacked following claims that a frail elderly woman died alone in her home after workers at a community alarm centre twice failed to respond to her pleas for help.

But the family of the 74-year-old yesterday condemned Angus Council for failing to tell them of the decision to dismiss the three members of staff – after learning the workers had been sacked through the media.

The body of Yvonne Carrie, who had a history of health problems, was found by her carer at her home in the Angus village of Inveraldie, near Dundee, 11 hours after she is said to have first activated her community alarm device.

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Her family claim that she twice contacted the council’s community alarm service but Mrs Carrie’s relatives were never contacted and no help was sent to help her.

Mrs Carrie’s granddaughter, Lynne Wilson, said: “We have never been officially informed that these people have been dismissed. I phoned the council last week because I had heard something on the grapevine but they said they couldn’t comment. I only learned about this through a reporter.

“I just feel awful. I am totally shocked at what’s happened. I thought we would find out this sort of information first.”

Ms Wilson added: “We still want answers. We want to know why it happened and what happened. We don’t have any information. We don’t have anything. All we know is that my granny twice contacted the community alarm service within the space of four minutes and nobody came to see her and none of the family were contacted. That’s as much information as we have been told.

“We still don’t know anything about what happened that night – we don’t know if they chose to ignore her. The council have not told us anything.”

John Hodson, the family’s solicitor, told The Scotsman: “We are still awaiting an official response from the council. It is difficult to go forward at the moment until we get a response from the council.”

He added: “I understand that the council’s investigation has not been concluded and the council are reluctant to meet with the family until they have concluded their investigation. As I understand it, the council want to be in possession of all the facts until they meet the family. The family are still looking for answers about what happened on the evening prior to Mrs Carrie being found.”

Mrs Carrie, who suffered from a chronic lung disease, was found dead at her home on the morning of 11 October. She was found to have succumbed to the lung condition chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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Her grieving family were told that she had twice activated her community alarm device on the night of 10 October. Angus Council admitted calls from Mrs Carrie were logged at 9:11pm and 9:15pm at the community alarm service, based in nearby Kirriemuir, on that night. But none of her relatives were informed and no help appears to have been sent to her home. The family has demanded copies of the recordings and any paperwork as they consider further action.

Four members of staff were originally suspended following Mrs Carrie’s death.

A spokeswoman for Angus Council said: “The council can confirm that the inquiry is ongoing. Of the four members of staff who were suspended, three have been dismissed and one has returned to duty.”

She added: “This information should have been shared with Mrs Carrie’s family before being made public and the council has made an unreserved apology to the family for this error. The council will ensure that the family is kept informed as the inquiry continues and, as previously agreed, the director of social work and health will meet with them at its conclusion.”