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Court told vulnerable woman was heard squealing 'like a pig' after Swansea carer John Riddell-Turner allegedly ill-treated her

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: April 10, 2013

By Ruth Mosalski

John Riddell-Turner after leaving Swansea Crown Court

John Riddell-Turner after leaving Swansea Crown Court

A VULNERABLE woman was heard squealing "like a pig" after an alleged incident involving her care worker, a court has heard.

John Riddell-Turner, of Merlin Crescent, Townhill, is on trial after denying two counts of ill-treating the woman, who lacks capacity.

He was employed by Swansea Council at the Maesglas Community Support Unit in Gendros as a Senior Care Officer when the offence is said to have been committed against the woman, who has Downs Syndrome and severe learning difficulties.

Witness Deborah Pavey, who works as a cleaner at the residential unit, told the court she came forward to report the incident she alleges to have seen during the dates detailed in the first count — between May 2011 and July 2011.

That offence was reported after a complaint was made on July 11 by another member of staff — detailed in the second count.

Miss Pavey said she was working with another cleaner, Joanne Arnold, near the lounge area where the woman was eating her breakfast when she heard the woman scream.

"I heard a high-pitched squealing, like a pig, it wasn't very nice," Miss Pavey said.

She said she had seen Riddell-Turner, aged 51, lean forward towards the woman and grab hold of her.

"His hands were on her wrists, he stood up and brought her up with him," said Miss Pavey.

"He was pushing her down to pick stuff up off the floor," she added.

Miss Pavey said the woman seemed shocked and distressed at the incident. Miss Pavey said she thought Riddell-Turner had over-reacted to the woman throwing her food on the floor - something the court had been told was a daily occurrence by the woman.

Ieuan Rees, representing Riddell-Turner, asked her why she did not report the allegation immediately after the incident.

"I don't know why I didn't do it then. In hindsight I should have gone to a higher authority but at the time I didn't know what to do," said Miss Pavey.

She said she did report it after Riddell-Turner had been suspended after a further allegation was made. She said that came a week or so after a highly-publicised documentary about abuse in care homes.

Her colleague Miss Arnold also took to the witness stand. She said she saw Riddell-Turner march the woman from the lounge.

Miss Arnold also said he had used two hands to grab her and said he was shouting at her to pick up the food. "He was angry with her.

"He didn't like that she had thrown her breakfast. He had shouted 'pick it up'."

She told the jury: "I didn't think it was right. I didn't think it was nice to have marched her to the kitchen in that way as well as shouting."

The jury had also heard from the care home manager Alison Bromfield who said she had worked with Riddell-Turner since 1994 and that he had known the woman before she moved into the care home.

She said the woman could be very challenging.

"The reality is that she could be very, very volatile," said Mrs Bromfield, but confirmed Riddell-Turner was extremely caring towards the woman and that she was also fond of him.

She said he had never been inappropriate towards a client and described him as a fantastic carer.

The trial continues.

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