Whorlton Hall Prosecution – 24 March 2023 Defendants’ Interviews: John Sanderson and Sabah Mahmood

John Sanderson

The first interview of Mr Sanderson took place on 5 June 2019 in the presence of two police officer, his solicitor and an independent observer. He was a voluntary attender and the caution was explained and ascertained that he understood it.

P: Whilst employed at Whorlton Hall, have you ever abused any patients residing there?

JS: No

P: When I say abused, some people might think physical abuse, it’s not just that, can include physical, emotional and psychological

JS: I’ve done no physical abuse… on tape, you see got in there, that could be seen as psychological?

P: It could do

JS: So I won’t say no then

P: Have you ever physically abused any patients

JS: No

P: What about emotional and psychological type of abuse?

JS: Not sure

P: Whilst employed at Whorlton Hall, have you ever mistreat any patient in any way?

JS: No

P: Whilst employed at Whorlton Hall, have you ever been in any way responsible for the treatment of patients that could be described as cruel?

JS: Not sure

P: Whilst employed at Whorlton Hall, have you ever witnessed the mistreatment or abuse of any patients?

JS: No

Asked by the officers what he could tell them about his involvement Mr Sanderson responded that it was his first care job and he’d broken his arm twice working there. The first time he was left alone with Patient 3 and a staff member who was not trained and he was left with a broken arm. He told them he then returned to work and was attacked by Patient 5 with a pool cue and his arm was re-broken again and had to be put back in a cast. Mr Herrmann said that he was invited and did give detail of his injuries, he told officers that when his arm was first broken he felt that he was going to be killed.

When officers asked how he knew what the needs were of specific residents, Mr Sanderson said he would look at their care plans. He said that he would look at them twice a day, he’d work with one patient in the morning and one in the afternoon and he’d read their notes and put them back. He told officers that the careplans were kept in the nurses’s office in a locked cupboard and that staff had between 1 and 2pm to do the notes.

Mr Sanderson explained that he’d taken the job because he’d been out of work and his friend Niall Mellor was working at the home and they were looking for staff. He told the officers that he had two weeks training before starting at Whorlton Hall, including Maybo training. He said that he did not feel properly supported at work, or after he received his injury.

Asked if he had any specialist training for patients he said no. He said his role was as a support worker, and once you got your qualification you could go on to become a healthcare assistant, then could go on to be a senior healthcare assistant. Mr Mellor described to the officers what a day would look like, he said if patients were obviously unsettled then staff tried their best to settle them and if they “attacked you or others have to restrain them and go from there”.

Mr Sanderson told the officers that agency staff were paid more than full time staff but they didn’t do as good a job and the patients didn’t tend to like them. He told officers that careplans contained important information about residents, he confirmed that he followed the careplans and he was aware that different patients had different trigger points.

Asked if he knew why he was there he said “obviously I’ve been on the programme, yeh”. In response to a question about whether he had any other injuries, besides his wrist, that he’d not reported he told officers he’d been punched in the face, spat at and had a boiling cup of coffee and a bowl of cornflakes chucked at him because he’d forgotten to put sugar on the cornflakes. Mr Sanderson said he’d see other staff with their nose out here, with scratches and bite marks and that “it’s like christ you’ve come back from a war”.

When the officers asked Mr Sanderson if he’d ever been present when someone boasted about causing a patient harm he said that obviously he was on the programme “where Darren said he clotheslined a patient”. Asked what he understood that to mean he said that he understood the patient was trying to abscond and Mr Lawton had to “literally do what he had to do” because a patient was in the garden at risk of self harming. Asked if they’d talked about that he said that he didn’t see it until he saw it on the programme because he was down the bottom of the corridor.

P: So you saw on the programme but didn’t know in real time?

JS: No

P: How did you feel you acted when you were there?

JS: Obviously seeing the programme bit remorseful, but feel had to… so I fitted in or I’d have been cast out

Asked what he was remorseful about Mr Sanderson said he wasn’t going to deny it, he was on camera. When the officers asked him about an incident with Patient 4 he said that he “was agitated for some reason, called us a fucking bastard. I stood up, he hit us on the chin”. Mr Sanderson said he reacted and told Patient 4 to “get in there or I’ll put you through the floor” and he told the officer “that’s what I said on the tele”. When asked what he felt about his actions in that incident Mr Sanderson responded he was “disgusted really but wasn’t told otherwise, was taught to be firm”.

Asked what was documented in his careplan that would suggest that, Mr Sanderson responded “it’s not”. When the officer asked who had told him that he had to be firm with him he responded “managers and seniors”.

P: Firm with him, nothing in his careplan, you just have to be told that by managers and seniors?

JS: Yeh

The officer asked for what reason

JS: He’s so argumentative and if you say ‘ahh come on’ it escalates him more… so if you just go ‘right, stop it’, it’s back to his level, doesn’t want to attack me now because he’s cowered away.

When the officer asked what else happened with Patient 4, Mr Sanderson said that he went into his room, opened his windows and there was a poster hanging off his wall so he popped it on the thing and when Patient 4 said he’d taken his poster out of his room Mr Sanderson said he hadn’t. That was when Patient 4 “popped us on the chin… that’s on camera”. Finally the officer asked Mr Sanderson if he thought how he acted was the right thing to do and he responded no.

The next summarised interview transcript shared with the court for Mr Sanderson was following an interview in late afternoon on 29 July 2020 with two police officers and his solicitor present. Mr Herrmann told the court that the caution was explained to him in the usual way.

His solicitor then explained that he had a short prepared statement that he was going to read on behalf of his client. This statement said that he had been advised he was to be further interviewed and that he had been interviewed on two previous occasions in relation to this matter. Once in May 2019. Mr Herrmann asked DC Simms if that was the interview summary that we had just heard, it was. DC Simms then explained to the jury, in response to further questions from Mr Herrmann, that Mr Sanderson had been interviewed for a second time in March 2020, however there had been a complete failure of the recording equipment. The system had been sent off for inspection but the interview had not recorded on to the hard drive. DC Simms explained that officers do not take extensive notes when interviewing people because they (usually) have the interview recorded.

Mr Sanderson’s statement set that during these two interviews he had provided comprehensive answers to the police and on this third occasion he did not wish to make any further answers. The statement was signed by Mr Sanderson.

P: Whilst employed at Whorlton Hall, have you ever abused any patients residing there?

JS: No comment

P: Whilst employed at Whorlton Hall, have you ever mistreat any patient in any way?

JS: No comment

P: Whilst employed at Whorlton Hall, have you ever been in any way responsible for the treatment of patients that could be described as cruel?

JS: No comment

P: Whilst employed at Whorlton Hall, have you ever witnessed the mistreatment or abuse of any patients?

JS: No comment

Mr Sanderson was asked a series of questions about Patient 4, his specific needs, careplan and behaviours, about triggers for Patient 4 including diabetes and his mental health conditions and to all of those questions Mr Sanderson responded no comment.

Mr Herrmann told the court that the officers then showed video exhibit AJS/28 to Mr Sanderson and asked if he had any response he replied no comment. Asked what his intention was for asking Patient 4 if he wanted medication, Mr Sanderson responded no comment. Asked again what his intention was he replied no comment and when the officer asked if it was to wind Patient 4 up, Mr Sanderson responded no comment.

The officers then played Mr Sanderson a video clip of a conversation between himself and Olivia Davies, outside Patient 4’s room. Asked if he could hear that ok he said yes, and asked if he wished to watch it again he said no.

P: You’re talking about Patient 4 and Olivia Davies asks what it is you call Patient 4 and you say “nutter”. What did you mean by that?

JS: No comment

P: Why say that?

JS: No comment

P: You also said “get in your room nutter”. Why say that to Patient 4?

JS: No comment

P: You indicate he’d become aggressive from comments like that. Why?

JS: No comment

Mr Sanderson was shown a further clip and asked whether he’d done anything to wind up Patient 4, asked why he’d said to Patient 4 ‘if you do that again I’ll put you through the floor’, and asked what he meant when he said ‘let’s dance’ to Patient 4, and to all of those questions he answered “no comment”.

Mr Dryden, counsel for Mr Sanderson, asked DC Simms a number of questions. DC Simms answered that at the initial interview on 5 June 2019 the police were not in possession of the footage obtained by Olivia Davies. DC Simms agreed that when Mr Dryden’s client was invited back for a second interview in March 2020 there were difficulties with the recording. Asked if he could remember how long that interview lasted, DC Simms said that he couldn’t give specifics but he said that most were on average between 1 and 2 hours long because they had to play the footage. When Mr Dryden asked if the police had footage in the aborted interview, HHJ Smith clarified whether the interview was aborted. It was confirmed that it was not, but the recording equipment failed. DC Simms said that they played the same clips to Mr Sanderson in the third interview as the second interview, that it was a direct replication.

When DC Simms was asked by Mr Dryden if he recalled Mr Sanderson answering his questions in the second interview, he said that he did answer, he didn’t say no comment throughout but he couldn’t give an account of his answers.

MrD: So he did give an account, but unfortunately it was not recorded?

DC S: Yes

DC Simms agreed when asked by Mr Dryden that in the final interview, conducted in July 2020, which the court had just heard, all the clips were put to Mr Sanderson, and that they had already been put to him in the March 2020 interview.

Mr Dryden then took DC Simms to the transcript of the clips, focusing on one filmed on 2 February 2019, relating to Count 16.

MrD: This is the allegation where John Sanderson has, in the words of the count teased Patient 4 regarding his required medication?

DC S: Yes

MrD: Could you do me a favour and turn to p61 please, dealing with our count 16

DC S: Yes

MrD: Flip over the page please to p62, clear that’s the incident, we have Olivia Davies present?

DC S: Yes

MrD: Obviously got John Sanderson present?

DC S: Yes

MrD: Appeared to be a third male present, one of the staff members, Mr O’Connor. Can you see that?

DC S: Yes

MrD: The transcript suggests it is Mr O’Connor who says ‘right XXX are you going for your meds’. Can you see that?

DC S: Yes

MrD: Do you accept with regards to this clip that Mr O’Connor is the first to reference meds?

DC S: Yes

MrD: Then Mr Sanderson is saying ‘XXX is for the benefit of you mate, are we ok this morning?’ and then second comment Mr O’Connor is inaudible but the phrase ‘easy shift’. Then final comment Mr Sanderson saying are you going for your meds?

DC S: Yes

MrD: Then Patient 4 becomes upset and says ‘no’. Mr O’Connor says ‘right stay there until you calm down’.

DC S: Yes

MrD: Was Mr O’Connor ever interviewed regarding this allegation?

DC S: No

MrD: But he made the same reference as Mr Sanderson?

DC S: Yes

MrD: What was the difference?

DC S: He only had one incident, didn’t appear on the footage very often.

MrD: So, because he only made comments on this one occasion wasn’t felt appropriate to take forward as far as he was concerned?

DC S: Yes

MrD: But you accept he said the same as Mr Sanderson?

DC S: Yes

Mr Dryden had no further questions for DC Simms and HHJ Smith took the opportunity to ask the officer a question. HHJ Smith asked DC Simms when it became clear that there was a problem with the recording of the second interview. DC Simms responded explaining that the system has a black box, that you load it with CDs, record the interview onto the hard drive and at the end of the interview you press a button and it spits out a CD with the interview on it. DC Simms said at the end of the interview they thought they had the interview but when they tried to play the recording later the same day they realised it had not worked.

HHJ: So later the same day?

DC S: Yes

HHJ: Did you let Mr Sanderson know that, or his legal team?

DC S: Yes we spoke to his legal representative at the time. We said it hadn’t recorded and we would need to do it again.

HHJ: Contemporaneously? So interview just done, yesterday or today hasn’t recorded and need to do it again?

DC S: Yes. It’s very frustrating.

There was nothing arising from that for Mr Dryden. The court then adjourned for a short break.

Sabah Mahmood

The final defendant’s interview summaries read to the court were those of Ms Mahmood. Mr Herrmann told the court that her first interview was conducted on 24 May 2019 at Darlington Police Station, with two police officers and her solicitor present. She was cautioned in the same way as mentioned previously.

A prepared statement was read on her behalf by her solicitor [I couldn’t catch it all, apologies]. It included that in respect of her arrest at no time had she been responsible for ill-treating or neglecting a person at Whorlton Hall. She said that she initially joined as agency staff and worked for one year while obtaining an NVQ Level 2 in Social Care. She said that she was aware of the whistleblowing policy and procedures and has used them when required. She said she had received Maybo technique training, and that she did not wish to provide any further information. DC Simms confirmed that statement had been given on the aforementioned date.

P: Whilst employed at Whorlton Hall, have you ever mistreat any patient in any way?

SM: No comment

P: Whilst employed at Whorlton Hall, have you ever been in any way responsible for the treatment of patients that could be described as cruel?

SM: No comment

P: Whilst employed at Whorlton Hall, have you ever witnessed the mistreatment or abuse of a patient?

SM: No comment

Ms Mahmood was asked for further details of her employment, her role and responsibilities, her training and experience, working patterns and specific residents and their needs and to all those questions she replied “no comment”.

Asked if she’d seen the BBC Panorama documentary and whether she had any comment on it’s contents, to both questions she responded no comment. The officer said that she’d said she was aware of the whistleblowing policies and asked her what they were, she responded no comment, and when she was asked on what occasion she’d used them she responded with no comment. Asked if she had any questions she responded “no thank you” and the interview concluded.

The second interview of Ms Mahmood took place on 24 July 2020 and Mr Herrmann directed jury members to page 175 of the bundle. She was interviewed by two officers, including DC Simms and was represented by a solicitor. She was cautioned in the same terms.

P: Whilst employed at Whorlton Hall, have you ever abused any patients residing there?

SM: No I haven’t

P: Whilst employed at Whorlton Hall, have you ever mistreat any patient in any way?

SM: No

P: Whilst employed at Whorlton Hall, have you ever witnessed the mistreatment or abuse of a patient?

SM: No

Mr Herrmann said that Ms Mahmood had explained her understanding of careplans and positive behaviour support plans, the importance of reading full careplans and said that she knew how to access documents.

She was asked questions about Patient 7 and what she understood her mental health conditions to be. Ms Mahmood responded that the patient was “very self-harming” adding that the patient wanted to self-harm all the time because of family problems and things that had happened in her past. She told the officers that Patient 7 could be very challenging with new members of staff and that she had a very good rapport with her.

SM: Whenever she escalated she would tell me to fuck off… to build rapport I spoke to her like she spoke to me… so when I said her family were poison, her family had messaged her to tell her she should have died instead of her mum.

P: Had her family messaged her?

SM: Yes

Ms Mahmood said that she had been pulled off another person’s observations to go and see Patient 7 and that she de-escalated. Ms Mahmood said that Patient 7 had told her that she wanted her to help her and she “told her her family were poison and she was being a dickhead”. She said that she calmed Patient 7 by stroking her hand on her bed and “talking to her like she talked to me” which she described as going down to her level. She told the officers that she didn’t need to restrain her. She said that she stroked her hand, ensured Patient 7 was under a weighted blanket and that she de-escalated straight away and then went down to the lounge and played pool with Ms Mahmood.

P: How did you know she had that message?

SM: That’s what escalated her, she told me herself.

P: Patient 7 told you?

SM: Yes

P: How did she get the message?

SM: Not sure whether on Facebook or normal messages, I didn’t see it.

Ms Mahmood said that Patient 7 was “a 19 year old kid” and that she “didn’t want to make out she was lying, I went with the flow, told her how it was, she deescalated straight away”. She said that Patient 7 knew she “wasn’t able to pull the wool over my eyes and hit the roof”.

P: Was anyone else there when she told you about the message?

SM: Alex Hall and Olivia were on her observations

P: Those two were present when Patient 7 told you this, is that right?

SM: Yes

P: Where was she when she told you?

SM: In her bedroom

Ms Mahmood told officers that Patient 7 was “very upset, was very heightened”. She said that she took the pen out of her hair and put it into her jacket pocket as a precautionary measure. She said Patient 7 said that she wanted to self harm and she told her that she wasn’t going to do that. She said that she tried to keep Patient 7 as safe as she could.

SM: She threatened self-harm, went over to the window and punched the window. I got hands on… I cradled her back to her bed, told her to put the weighted blanket on her. She was screaming, screaming, screaming… only way to de-escalate was to overpower her, so I told her her family were poison… only was to de-escalate, otherwise she’d have self harmed or harmed a staff member.

P: As a result of a message that triggered behaviour in Patient 7 that you had to deal with?

SM: Yes

P: And part of that was you say to Patient 7 her family are poison?

SM: Yes

Officers asked if anything was in Patient 7’s careplan or written down about her relationship with her family. Ms Mahmood responded that it was written down she shouldn’t have contact with family at all, but she said that Patient 7 had a phone and wifi, and a right to that phone.

Officers said that the Patient 7’s PBS plan says “can get anxious when contacting family and friends… need staff to monitor and provide reassurance”. Mr Herrmann told the court that the officers read further from Patient 7’s PBS plan.

P: Highlighted a couple of areas, can get anxious when contacting family and friends, don’t see anything there to say she’s not to contact friend and family, just she gets anxious when she does.

SM: We were told she wasn’t to contact her family

P: Have you seen that [PBS plan]

SM: I have yeh

Asked if she’d ever go against what was included in careplans Ms Mahmood said that she wouldn’t with any other patients but would with Patient 7. She said that she had “built a rapport with her” and that she “knew what she likes and dislikes”. She said:

Only time would go against it is if careplans weren’t up to date, they weren’t always up to date. Wasn’t our fault, we would tell senior staff and nurses but they didn’t always get done.

Ms Mahmood told the officers that she “whistleblew about a few things to the manager, whether they got settled to me I don’t know… if felt careplan wasn’t up to date and felt another technique would work then would use it, if it didn’t then I’d retract everything and let another staff member step in”.

In response to a question from the officers asking how she would rectify an issue if careplans were not accurate or appropriate Ms Mahmood responded that she would go to the nurse:

I said to the nurses need to get to her level… at her wavelength to de-escalate quickly… I told managers but it didn’t get implemented, went to the manager myself but didn’t get implemented… with Patient 7 I never went against her careplan before. Me and her had a good rapport, because I didn’t know what she likes and dislikes… as soon as started building rapport she opened up to me, said I don’t like getting spoken to like a kid, she’s telling me herself

Ms Mahmood said that if a staff member was talking down to Patient 7 she wouldn’t listen.

Could see she was taking everything in and was ticking over in her head. Would take time to de-escalate but it takes every service user time to de-escalate, would take an age to get out of a pissed off mood… only time ever went against careplan was when I built good rapport with her…. I’d speak to her at her wavelength because that’s what she wanted, someone at her level.

Officers then asked Ms Mahmood about PRN medication and she said that Patient 7 would take it whenever she was escalated. She told officers that she could tell that sometimes Patient 7 would request PRN for a buzz.

Sometimes would have to give her PRN to calm her down properly, whereas some days she wanted it to get a buzz out of it, night time that would happen… as soon as you speak on her wavelength she was fine.

She never took the piss with me, but she would take the piss with new staff members… if she asks for PRN we have to give it… I can’t administrate, would be a nurse… but she’d get PRN if she asked for it, every single time.

When officers asked if PRN medication was used purely for Patient 7 to de-escalate Ms Mahmood said it was used to de-escalate and to help settle her down but that she “wouldn’t have a clue” whether it was for medication health reasons. When officers asked what would happen if Patient 7 was escalated, and on Ms Mahmood’s knowledge of her she required PRN, but she doesn’t ask for it, Ms Mahmood said that she could advise her to have it, but some days Patient 7 “wouldn’t want it, she wants to kick off”. She told officers that she’d say to Patient 7 if she wanted PRN to let her know, that she would keep asking her, because otherwise she’d day no, escalate and end up hurting somebody. Ms Mahmood said that she would keeping asking Patient 7 and in the end she’d take it, she’d de-escalate and would be “happy as Larry after that” and that often she’d then watch a movie with her.

Ms Mahmood was shown a video clip of her and Patient 7 and asked if she had any comment.

SM: Only thing is I had to get a valid reason from her of why she wanted it. If I requested it for her it’s a different case, I’m saying she’s not safe and not in right mindset, to not have PRN…. They’d hand it over to her, if she didn’t want to take it that’s her choice, but if she wanted PRN after I asked her, she said yeh, but she wouldn’t give me a valid reason why she wanted it, but you’re not seeing the clip afterwards. Don’t know if Olivia was in there after, she told me herself was over her family, I knew this already because had to be handed over to me what’s happening…. Didn’t want to say, if she wants to tell me she can tell me. Got her the PRN because I got a valid reason for her…

As for swearing, calling her a dickhead, was way we spoke to her. Was simply the way communicated with her, she’d get to my level and I’d get to her level.

P: Is clear from the video Patient 7 is in an agitated state

SM: Oh yeh

Officer described the video

P: If she’s asking for PRN, do you think she needed PRN at the time?

SM: I knew she needed it at that time but from what I was told by nurses cant just give, if she’s requested had to give valid reason. She was taking the mic with it, wanted it all the time, wanted to get high off it, she would even say that. So was plan in place if she wanted PRN had to give valid reason, if thought valid enough, go to nurse and get PRN off her

P: I get circumstances where she may be trying to circumvent system and try to get high

SM: Oh yeh

P: However, she looks quite agitated here, had got some wire…. do you think should tell nurse?

SM: At that point we were waiting for a nurse anyway

P: You’d called a nurse at that point?

Ms Mahmood said that the nurse had to come observe the patient whilst she was there to see if she needed it. When the officer asked Ms Mahmood if speaking to Patient 7 “on her level” appeared to be working as she appeared to be escalating, not de-escalating, Ms Mahmood said that was a pattern with Patient 7, commenting “I understand where you’re coming from but I worked with her every day”.

The officer asked her if she got frustrated with Patient 7 and Ms Mahmood responded that she did and that you could see that on the video. The officer said you could see in the video that Patient 7 was getting to Ms Mahmood and she agreed, when they asked if she could have done things differently she said that Alex had pulled her out of the room. Asked whether she could have left the room earlier herself she said that she could have, but Patient 7 didn’t like James, or Olivia because she was new. She said that Patient 7 had a good rapport with Alex “I could have walked out but she isn’t going to de-escalate with just Alex”. Ms Mahmood told the officers that sometimes she managed to de-escalate Patient 7 without getting her onto the floor or using Maybo on her.

She was asked further questions about Patient 7’s need for PRN and she said “it’s not really my fault in that sense… if it was up to me at that point I would give it straight away, knew she was in crisis, but had to wait for the nurse and had to get a reason for the nurse as well”.

When officers asked her whether she thought her persistent asking Patient 7 about PRN was reasonable Ms Mahmood responded “that’s what we always did, seen other staff members do it too, it works for Patient 7. if you ask once she thinks she can get away with it, whereas if keep asking her that’s how you get the answer you need. In the end she asked for it”.

P: Did she ask because you kept asking and asking?

SM: No Patient 7 says that herself, ‘if you ask me once I won’t tell you’, I’m just going by what Patient 7s told me, not forcing her into it, am going to do it anyway

P: At some stage you got to ask yourself who’s the patient and who is the staff member

SM: Yeh I get that, but what am I supposed to do? … I’ve been told I need a reason for it.

P: Am struggling to understand in that situation, she’s distressed and agitated… you continue with that… then decide to say her family are poison… not sure where the benefit in that was

SM: It’s about her family… wasn’t going to come out and say it would put her in more crisis, wants me to say what family have said to you, so she can go into crisis mode all over again, would get worse, she wouldn’t even go for herself would end up going for staff as well.

After it was all sorted she said I know my family are poison, and it made me think… it looks awful on there, I get that, but that’s just the way it is.

Mr Rooney, counsel for Ms Mahmood, had a number of questions for DC Simms. In response to Mr Rooney’s initial questions DC Simms agreed as officer in charge of the court part of his duties was to build a file ready for court, that he would review the police interviews and identify what needed further investigation and that he needed to be aware of his duties under the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996.

MrR: You’d agree under that act when criminal investigation is conducted all reasonable steps are taken for the purpose of investigation and all reasonable lines of inquiry are pursued?

DC S: Yes

MrR: On 24 July 2020 we heard you interviewed Ms Mahmood at Durham Police Station

DC S: Yes

MrR: She attended as a volunteer didn’t she?

DC S: Voluntary attender, yes

MrR: Was free to leave at any time?

DC S: Yes

MrR: Didn’t have to answer any of your questions?

DC S: No

MrR: She answered your questions for 1hr and XX minutes didn’t she?

DC S: Yes

Mr Rooney asked DC Simms if he was interviewing Ms Mahmood in relation to an incident on 4 January 2019, he confirmed he was. Mr Rooney took the jury to the transcript.

MrR: Ms Mahmood is explaining to you Patient 7 received a message from a member of her family telling her they wished she’d died instead of her mam. Ms Mahmood told you she’s not seen the message but Patient 7 told her she’d seen it. Halfway down, your colleague says, ‘yeh right, was there any one else there when you were told about this message’. Do you see that?

DC S: Yes

MrR: Reason that question was asked was to ascertain whether anyone could corroborate what Ms Mahmood was saying in regards to the message from her family?

DC S: Yes

MrR: If was someone, would be important wouldn’t it?

DC S: Whether she received the message wasn’t important, was issue [of way] Ms Mahmood spoke to Patient 7. What happened before was of no relevance.

MrR: Question was asked to see if anyone could corroborate what she was saying?

DC S: Yes

MrR: If you could, would be capable of supporting Ms Mahmood’s credibility?

DC S: We ask lots of things in interview, don’t follow up every line of inquiry, we make a decision

MrR: If someone could corroborate, it would support Ms Mahmood’s credibility wouldn’t it?

DC S: It would certainly give a reason for why Patient 7 was agitated

MrR: She says Alex Hall and Olivia Davies was on her observations, and someone says those two were present when Patient 7 told you this and she says right.

DC S: Yes

MrR: She’s informing you two people were present. Two people can corroborate what she’s telling you.

DC S: Yes, one is her partner, Alex Hall, and one is Olivia

MrR: Did you interview Alex Hall about this?

DC S: No

MrR: Did you interview Olivia Davies about this?

DC S: No

HHJ: Do you mean interview under caution Mr Rooney?

MrR: Any interview. Did you speak to them about it?

DC S: No

MrR: Did you take a witness statement?

DC S: no

MrR: You’ve asked if anyone can corroborate her position, she gives the answer two people can, then you don’t interview them?

DC S: No. We didn’t believe whatever reason Patient 7 was agitated was relevant to the way Sabah spoke to Patient 7 the way she did in the footage.

Mr Rooney continues to read from the transcript of the clip and checks with DC Simms the reason for their questions.

MrR: Is it right in saying, you and your colleagues are trying to find out if reasonable reason for behaving the way she had?

DC S: To try to understand

MrR: To see whether it is excusable in the circumstance?

DC S: Don’t think its excusable in any way

MrR: Not saying do you think that. I am asking you the reason for the question?

DC S: To understand why said it

MrR: After de-escalated she said they went to have a few games of pool, that’s what Ms Mahmood said. That’s important because charged with ill-treatment… however result was to de-escalate, to point where Patient 7 went to play poo,l that’s for jury to be aware of.

DC S: All patients would eventually de-escalate, couldn’t be heightened all the time.

MrR: If de-escalating situation to point where Patient 7 went to play pool after comments from Ms Mahmood, that’s important and something the jury need to know isn’t it?

DC S: If you say so sir

MrR: One way to corroborate if she went to play pool after she de-escalated would be to interview Alex Hall or Olivia Davies.

DC S: No

Mr Rooney suggests that DC Simms didn’t follow a reasonable line of inquiry

DC S: Didn’t believe it was a reasonable line of inquiry at the time.

MrR: You ask, she tells you, why not a reasonable line of inquiry?

DC S: We ask many things, don’t follow up everything we ask, trying to understand the situation

MrR: Why is it you asked question for particular reason, get answer, why not reasonable then to follow line of inquiry?

DC S: It didn’t explain why Sabah spoke the way she did, so no reason to interview Alex Hall, her partner, he’s not independent, or Olivia Davies because she’s not independent, she’s there for Panorama

Mr Rooney asks about Ms Mahmood and Patient 7 playing pool together

DC S: The situation must have de-escalation, have no reason to believe she didn’t play pool with Sabah but that doesn’t detract from the fact I don’t believe she should have spoken to Patient 7 the way she did

MrR: That’s not my question. Having asked line of inquiry why not follow up, a reasonable line of inquiry?

HHJ: Dispute there Mr Rooney. You say reasonable line of inquiry, the officer says it isn’t, it’s for them to decide.

MrR: Would you agree with me on this occasion Ms Mahmood was being let down by your inquiry by not following up reasons on inquiry.

HHJ: No Mr Rooney that’s comment.

Mr Rooney had no further questions and HHJ Smith had no questions on those interviews.

Court continued to sit whilst the Agreed Facts were read to the jury and onto the record. I’ll report them in a separate post, possibly not until next week now. At the end of those being read Mr Herrmann informed the court that was the case for the Crown.

The jury were released at 13:30 yesterday for a long weekend. HHJ Smith explained to them that on Monday and Tuesday the court would continue to work on this case, that the lawyers and HHJ Smith has work to do, but in their absence.

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