Nigerian care givers face jail time for abandoning autistic lady to go on a shopping spree in the UK | Nigeria Newspaper- Nigeria News| Naija News

13.9.17

Nigerian care givers face jail time for abandoning autistic lady to go on a shopping spree in the UK

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Nigerian care givers face jail time for abandoning autistic lady to go on a shopping spree in the UK
Two caregivers left a severely autistic woman locked in a car alone in Chatham High Street, U.K on a hot day while they went on a two-and-a-half hour shopping spree.
Sylvia Ezeorji, 47 and Veronica Howe, 52, were both care support workers for 58-year-old Claire McMullen, who is autistic, has learning difficulties, and does not speak.

They neglected their duties, leaving their charge in a hot car for hours. Ms McMullen was found by police locked in the car in July after concerned members of the public dialed 999 when they saw the vehicle rocking. At first, they thought a dog may be trapped inside, but when officers investigated further, they saw Ms McMullen in the back. She was wearing a big coat and sweating.
The court was told officers had to smash a window to free Ms McMullen because they were so concerned about her welfare. Ezeorji and Howe returned to the vehicle at about 4pm, two-and-a-half hours after they had abandoned her inside. Police were still on the scene and arrested both women on suspicion of neglect.
Magistrates heard that Ms McMullen she is a very vulnerable adult who needs two-to-one care 24 hours a day as she is in danger of choking on food so she must be supervised at all times. When she was found in the car, there was a packet of Wotsits and a bottle of water the carers had left for her, but she was not even capable of opening the items.
Howe, of Castle Road, Chatham, and Ezeorji, of Porters Avenue, Dagenham, were later charged and both pleaded guilty to neglect at Medway Magistrates’ Court. They were told by the court their actions showed "total disregard for a person's life".
James Nichols, prosecuting, said: "She was left on her own with a coat on in the middle of summer with water and crisps left for her, which she could not open. They (the carers) spent two-and-a-half hours shopping and an estate agent had seen them arrive at 1.25pm and the police were called out to the car at 3pm, she had been in the car for an hour-and-a-half at that point."
The court also heard a statement from the manager of Ms McMullen’s care home in Crawley, who said the support workers had told him they were going shopping with her in town. He had thought that meant they were going to Crawley or nearby, as taking a resident out of the borough would need to be authorised beforehand.
Magistrates decided their sentencing powers were insufficient and sent the case to Maidstone Crown Court to be dealt with.
Chairman of the bench, Veenod Rama, said: “This is an extremely serious case and you showed a total disregard for a person’s life. There is no excuse, it was callous and selfish behaviour on a very vulnerable person.”
A date for Ezeorji and Howe’s sentencing has not yet been fixed.

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