A 94-year-old great-grandmother was hit, mocked and scalded by the nursing home staff in Brent. Paniben shah was admitted at Meera house in March 2017 following a fall. Initially, her claims of staff abuse were taken as a symptom of dementia.
However, after a few months her family noticed her health was going “rapidly downhill.” Her son Kirti enlisted grandson Amit to put a hidden camera in her room to catch the carers who were abusing her. The camera captured carers handling her roughly, verbally abusing her, threatening and hitting Mrs Shah as well as dripping scalding water on her in March 2018. Three women were jailed last week and two others received community service orders over the abuse of Paniben.
Amit Shah said: “We couldn’t believe it. The home seemed so professional at first. It’s horrible to think of the horrific cruelty my grandmother suffered at the hands of these women. She was 94 when she went in there, but she was strong for her age. Then her health went downhill. She was a broken woman.” The family said they told care home management about Shah’s complaints but were dismissed at first. Shah said: “They acted like we were being difficult because we visited a lot and liked to take her out, get her out of her room. I set the camera up because we knew something was happening.”
Anita Kc Thapa, 46, Anita Bc, 49, both from Edgware, Heena Parekh, 55, of Borehamwood, and Dolon Roy, 39, and Moumita Roy, 34, both from Wembley, all admitted to ill treatment. At Harrow crown court, Thapa was jailed for six months, Bc for five months and Parekh for four. Moumita Roy was sentenced to 240 hours’ community service and Dolan Roy to 200 hours, and both were ordered to pay £200 compensation each.
Judge Lana Wood said: “You deprived Mrs Shah of the dignity and respect she was entitled to. She should have been treated with care and compassion. But she was treated without humanity and sometimes physically assaulted. There was a culture of accepting ill treatment.” The court was shown footage of Thapa slapping Mrs Shah and mocking her as she asks, “Why are you beating me so much?” In another clip, Anita Bc uses her fingers to pin Mrs Shah’s mouth shut as she cries out. Other videos show Bc and another carer roughly dressing their patient who was in pain. They call her names when she complains. In another clip, two carers tell Mrs Shah, who is a vegetarian that they have fed her chicken. Moumita Roy strikes the victim in the head and says: “Keep your mouth shut.”
Meera House, which has declined to comment, is a specialist care home for people of Asian origin. After the family showed Brent council the videos in April last year the home suspended the women. Shah was moved and the family gave the evidence to police. The home then received an emergency inspection from the Care Quality Commission in May last year. Inspectors downgraded its “good” rating to “requires improvement” and said an “action plan had been implemented to improve safeguarding arrangements”.
A spokesman for Meera House said: “We were shocked and devastated by these events and acted immediately to suspend any member of staff that was implicated. We have subsequently worked closely with the police to assist in the prosecutions they have pursued. No member of staff involved in the incident remains at the home. At the time, we were inspected thoroughly by the CQC and relevant local authority safeguarding teams, who were all happy that there was no ongoing safeguarding concern at the home and that the issue had been addressed.”