Staff at a Freckleton care home logged more than 140 complaints about ‘violent’ man who punched, kicked and spat at them over a period of seven months before fatally attacking a woman.
Jessie McKinlay, 91, was savagely beaten by Alan Whiteside, 75, at the Old Vicarage Care Home in Freckleton on Valentine’s Day 2019.
She died of her injuries nine weeks later, on April 21.
At an inquest at Blackpool town hall today, the court heard carers at the home made 149 reports of incidents involving Mr Whiteside, including at least 50 violent incidents, between July 2018 and January 2019 before he went on to fatally attack Mrs McKinlay.
The Old Vicarage Care Home
He was reported punching and kicking members of staff, hitting and screaming at other residents, wandering into their rooms unaccompanied and acting aggressively towards them.
But the manager of the Old Vicarage, Sharon Clayton, said the staff were ‘exaggerating’ in some cases.
“I’m not saying the incidents didn’t happen. I think the staff, to be fair, had just had enough of trying to deal with this gentleman and were recording things which were slightly exaggerated,” she said.
At around 2am on February 14 2019, he entered Mrs McKinlay’s bedroom, dragged her out of bed and threw her into the corridor.
He continued to punch and kick the frail 91-year-old until carers Samantha Davis and Helen Porter intervened and locked themselves and Mrs McKinlay in a spare room, while Mr Whiteside banged on the door outside.
Mrs McKinlay, a mum of seven, suffered a broken hip, a broken shoulder, and a slow bleed on the brain which led to her developing bronchal pneumonia and dying nine weeks later.
Today, Ms Clayton admitted that the Old Vicarage had placed other residents at risk by allowing Mr Whiteside, who suffered from dementia, to remain at the home.
She said: “I think you’re always concerned when somebody is showing these behaviours. Of course it’s unpredictable. Of course we were concerned that something was going to happen.
“I actually moved Alan into the back corridor which could only be activated by key coded doors, and put in a sensor mat so staff would know when he was going out of his room. We put one-to-one supervision in place. We talked to staff about distraction techniques.”
Coroner Alan Wilson said: “But these weren’t successful, as he was getting into other service users rooms.”
He said: “Would you accept that… other service users, not just members of staff, are physically at risk of Mr Whiteside being there, not withstanding some of the measures you introduced?”
She said: “Yes.”
Mr Whiteside had been placed at the Old Vicarage in July 2018 to protect his wife, as he was becoming increasingly violent towards her, and had dislocated her shoulder.
But Ms Clayton said: “We weren’t told anything about that before he came to us. We were given very limited information. He was actually a very charming gentleman at first, but it didn’t take long for things to start to escalate with him. The behaviours were becoming apparent.”
In early October, following a long list of reported outbursts involving Mr Whiteside, the Old Vicarage gave notice to Lancashire County Council that it could no longer look after him.
But the home withdrew its notice a few days later and assured social services that Mr Whiteside could stay, as he had settled down after being prescribed new drugs following a medical review.
Ms Clayton said: “Basically, we didn’t have an option. We had served notice, and then we had the medical review and he had settled. I did have conversations with the social worker and the case worker from the mental health team and there was a discussion about Alan possibly moving somewhere else, but they couldn’t find anywhere, or there was nowhere within the budget. It all seemed to be about funding.
“I was told that I had a duty of care (to Mr Whiteside). I did reiterate that I had a duty of care to other residents, as well as members of staff.”
She added: “At that time, I was quite confident we could meet his needs.”
At a hearing in September, Lancashire County Council social worker Caroline O’Brien said she had been reassured by care home manager Sharon Clayton that Mr Whiteside has ‘settled well’ into the home, and that they were able to meet his needs.
But Ms Clayton today told the court that the home was ‘begging for help’ as Mr Whiteside became increasingly violent towards the end of 2019.
Some 12 different staff members reported being verbally abused, punched, kicked and spat on by Mr Whiteside during the seven months he lived at the care home.
But Ms Clayton admitted reassuring Lancashire Council that the home was well-equipped to deal with the 75-year-old several times, including on December 20.
Court heard list of ‘substansive’ reports about Alan Whiteside
July 20 2018: Mr Whiteside entered another man’s room and pulled his leg as he slept in bed, and grabbed a female carer by the wrist when she tried to intervene
July 23: Three reports; Mr Whiteside reported to have entered another resident’s room, lying on the floor, refusing to move and becoming aggressive; Mr Whiteside reported entering another resident’s room, being aggressive, shouting and swearing; and Mr Whiteside being aggressive, shouting and swearing
July 31: Mr Whiteside found pacing in and out of other people’s rooms
August 1: Mr Whiteside found in another resident’s room. When confronted, he went into the lounge and acted aggressively, frightening some female residents
August 21: Verbally abused another resident in the lounge
August 22: Mr Whiteside was reported scaring other residents, wandering around, punching doors and acting aggressively for 90 minutes
Early September: Mr Whiteside entered another resident’s bedroom, refused to leave and verbally abused a member of staff
September 19: Mr Whiteside found repeatedly trying to get into other people’s rooms
September 22: Two reports; Mr Whiteside reported punching walls, shouting at people and throwing things; and staff responded to another resident shouting for help and found them on the floor in their room, being punched and kicked by My Whiteside. A high level of intervention was required to remove Mr Whiteside, who was abusive and swearing
September 30: Mr Whiteside reported going in and out of residents’ rooms, waving his arms and being verbally abusive, pacing around his room in an agitated way and breaking things
October 5: Mr Whiteside reported to have hit someone on the arm
October 11: Mr Whiteside repeatedly tried to attack other residents, and a high level of intervention was required to stop him
October 19: Hit an agency worker and threatened members of staff
October 31: Agitated
November 1: High level of intervention required as Mr Whiteside became aggressive and tried to get into residents’ rooms
November 2: Hit a member of staff while attempting to enter other residents’ rooms
November 4: Mr Whiteside was reported to be physically aggressive, punching and kicking staff, and a high level of intervention was required to stop him
November 5: Mr Whiteside was found in another resident’s room, he then became physically aggressive, head-butting a member of staff, punching and kicking them
November 10: Further incient involving Mr Whiteside
November 12: Further incident involving Mr Whiteside
November 14: Mr Whiteside reported hitting a member of staff
November 23: Mr Whiteside was aggressive, hit a member of staff with a remote control and bruised her cheek
November 26: Mr Whiteside attempted to pull another resident off the toilet and had to be stopped by a member of staff
December 11: Hitting staff, kicking them and being verbally abusive
December 14: Hit a member of staff
December 17: Several violent incidents reported, including hitting and punching staff as they tried to help him use the toilet
December 18: Punched and kicked a member of staff
December 22: Punched a female resident
December 23: Punched, kicked and spat at a member of staff ]
December 25: Threw a shoe at a member of staff and tried to punch them
December 29: Mr Whiteside found wandering the corridors, acting aggressively, pulled out a drawer and threw it at a member of staff
December 31: Punched a member of staff when she tried to get him to leave another resident’s room
January 2: ‘Punched and poked’ the face of another resident while shouting his wife’s name, and was ‘very aggressive’
January 3: Attempted to go into another resident’s room; punched, slapped and kicked members of staff
January 11: Physically aggressive towards staff
January 12: Attempted to enter another resident’s room
January 14: Further incident involving Mr Whiteside
January 15: Two further incidents involving Mr Whiteside
January 16: Aggressive towards staff
January 18: Put his hands around a male resident’s neck and punched him in the arm
January 23: Attempted to enter another resident’s room
January 24: Attempted to enter another resident’s room while shouting his wife’s name
January 25: Mr Whiteside reported pacing in and out of other people’s rooms, shouting obscenities, wandering the corridor and trying to get into a female resident’s room
January 27: Hit a female resident in the face
The inquest continues.