14 April 2023
The fifth defendant to give their evidence to the court was Ryan Fuller. Mr Fuller is charged with 10 counts of ill-treatment.
Mr Knox, counsel for Mr Fuller, started by asking him about his background. Mr Fuller told the court he was 27, agreed that he was a man of good character and said he was 20 when he started working at Whorlton Hall. Mr Fuller left school at 16, he couldn’t remember what qualifications he acquired at school but “maybe construction and sport”.
MrK: After that did you go to college or work?
RF: I went to 6th form
MrK: Any qualifications from that?
RF: Sport. And public services
MrK: You didn’t have any qualifications of any description in relation to nursing or care or that sort?
RF: No nothing
MrK: Did you almost by chance acquire the job effectively as a carer at Whorlton Hall?
RF: Yes I acquired it through somebody that knew somebody who I knew at the time
MrK: And you needed a job and applied?
Mr Fuller told the court that he’d originally started working at Whorlton Hall as a care assistant in 2016, and later became a senior. When Mr Knox asked what that meant, Mr Fuller told the court “it was more paperwork and I guess more responsibility”. In response to questions from Mr Knox he told the court that he was paid minimum wage when he first started and he believed he was paid an additional 50 pence an hour whilst working as a senior healthcare assistant.
Mr Fuller agreed with Mr Knox when he suggested there were no resident medical staff, no doctors on the premises. Asked about the multidisciplinary team meetings, Mr Fuller told the court that he “might have attended a couple with patients” if he were covering their observations. He said that if a patient asked him to speak on their behalf he would try to communicate what they wanted him to.
The court heard that Mr Fuller was keyworker for two patients, Patient 2 and Patient 5. Mr Fuller told the court that both of those patients had communication difficulties “so I could express what they wanted so the doctors could understand”.
Asked by Mr Knox if he regularly worked over and above his contracted hours [40 per week], Mr Fuller said that there were “always options for overtime”. He said that he wouldn’t know the precise hours but it would be between 60 and 100 hours overtime a month, which Mr Knox calculated as at least one extra shift a week, perhaps an extra 7 or 8 shifts in a month, to which Mr Fuller agreed.
MrK: Did you find this work hard?
RF: Um, yes
MrK: You had no training in advance that was directly relevant?
MrK: You were given some sort of induction course?
RF: At the start, yes
MrK: Do you remember how long that was?
RF: I can’t remember, couple days MAYBO, maybe a couple of days general stuff.
MrK: Was it much longer than a week?
RF: Either one or two weeks, can’t remember which.
MrK: You’ve been telling us about MAYBO, you spent a bit of time on that?
MrK: 2 or 3 days?
RF: Initially it might have been 4 or 5 days, then every year we had a refresher of 2 days
Mr Knox then moved on to ask Mr Fuller about patient’s careplans.
MrK: Would you actually read all of that?
RF: When you first started did have to read the care file, along with the policies before you shadowed or went to work on the floor. You had chance to read everything at the beginning.
MrK: Reading before you’re face to face with patients. Was that helpful or did it not make sense?
RF: It didn’t make a lot of sense, you didn’t know behaviours if you’d not worked in the setting before.
MrK: Did you, before you went there, know about autism or personality disorder?
RF: I’d heard the terms but before I applied for Whorlton I didn’t know places like it existed.
Mr Fuller told the court, in response to questions from Mr Knox, that once he started at Whorlton Hall he became familiar with the Mental Health Act and the various sections within it. Mr Fuller then provided to the court his recollection of staffing allocation to patients, and corrected Mr Knox that the two patients with the same surname were not related.
MrK: So far as you were concerned what about staffing levels? Were you happy there was sufficient staff, familiar with the patients?
MrK: Was that ever satisfactory?
RF: I think when I first started there was a lot less patients, it wasn’t as bad to staff, but once we got more patients and couldn’t get staff to keep up, it became quite a problem.
Asked about agency staff Mr Fuller told the court that the majority weren’t so good, but they did have some good ones, who were more familiar with Whorlton Hall and the patients but some didn’t come back, or were committed elsewhere. Mr Fuller told the court that he didn’t think staffing levels were adequate, in the sense there was a reliance on agency staff. Asked about the careplans the court had seen, he said that they were “not in the form we had them, some of the documents were in the careplan”.
Asked about the balance of male to female staff, Mr Fuller said that they had “higher male staff than we did females”.
MrK: Were there patients who didn’t want to be looked after by men?
RF: No, I mean everyone had certain preferred staff they’d like, couldn’t always accommodate it. Like everyone, [patients] liked certain people and not so keen on others.
MrK: Ms McGhee explained the various ways she’d allocate staff.
MrK: If people got on with the person they were allocated to, would make life easier all round?
MrK: But some people were clearly much more difficult and dangerous?
Mr Knox then asked Mr Fuller about an occasion when he’d been assaulted by Patient 8. Mr Fuller had been headbutted by the patient and agreed with Mr Knox when asked if it were reported to the police.
MrK: Was there a report to the police?
MrK: Did you see the point in reporting it to the police?
RF: At the time I couldn’t, but the nurse at the time advised me to, so it was logged
MrK: To make sure there was a clear picture of what had happened?
MrK: No one was going to be prosecuted, but that was the point?
MrK: I don’t want to go through it, but there is a list of the number of occasions you were recorded as being assaulted. Was that a fairly regular occurrence?
Asked by Mr Knox to describe his range of injuries, Mr Fuller said it ranged from being scratched through to being headbutted, thrown across a room or having a wardrobe tipped onto him. He said he’d had to take a few days off work due to injuries. Mr Knox asked about an occasion when Mr Fuller’s shirt is seen to be covered in grass stains on the video and he told the court a patient had tried to abscond through the back of the garden.
MrK: Did that involve some sort of struggle on the grass, hence the marks on your clothes?
MrK: Did you ever get clothes damaged through the course of this?
RF: Yes, I went through numerous shirts.
Mr Knox then started to take Mr Fuller through the counts he is charged with and Mr Fuller agreed after each one that he’d plead not guilty, then HHJ Smith interjected to say that the jury could take that as read because each of the defendants had pleaded not guilty to all charges, and that the jury’s task was to decide on that.
Mr Knox then said that he wanted to take Mr Fuller through the individuals about whom he was said to have committed ill-treatment. Mr Fuller agreed with Mr Knox’s suggestion that Patient 1 was a relatively young woman, and that she was “troubled in one sense, in the sense she lost control of herself from time to time” and screamed.
MrK: How did you get on with her?
RF: In my opinion I had a good relationship with Patient 1. I didn’t work with her that much but did respond a few times to incidents. From what I can see she never had negative impact from me being there.
MrK: We’ve seen at least two video clips, won’t take you through them, on one occasion you walk into the room, she’s in a state of clearly very considerable agitation
MrK: You speak to her in relatively quiet tone of voice, or not at all ?
MrK: Was some discussion whether you should repeat phrases she’d said, was said to like repetition of those phrases, is that right?
RF: Depending on who you asked
MrK: Was there more than one school of thought about that?
RF: Definitely. Some would repeat, some wouldn’t, it worked for some, not others.
MrK: Were you on the whole a repeater or did you not think was helpful?
RF: From what I remember I might have tried both, might have tried repeat at times and not otherwise, might depend on her mood. If she were unsettled and asked to repeat might not
MrK: Was there a magic recipe for getting her out of the states we’ve seen?
MrK: Was there any guidance you had that told you how to deal with her and how not to deal with her?
RF: Was the careplans, but other than that was more trial and error.
MrK: Did you ever see a magic solution, or a solution that worked every time, in those treatment plans?
RF: They’d be no such solution
In response to a series of questions from Mr Knox, Mr Fuller told the court that as far as he was concerned he’d not at any stage threatened Patient 1 with anything. He couldn’t remember whether Patient 1 had ever been hostile towards him, he said she might have been but she didn’t appear to be on the videos we’d seen. He thought that Patient 1 was about his height or might have been a little taller, Mr Fuller is 5ft 9.
MrK: Was a suggestion she’d put on lot of weight?
RF: She had
MrK: As it was she didn’t leave a very active life?
RF: Not at all
MrK: Did she have a modest diet or was she a keen eater?
RF: She was a keen eater, couldn’t say what she had for snacks as I wasn’t on her observations. I know her parents used to bring her McDonalds, which she used to love, takeaways and whatever.
Mr Fuller told the court, when questioned by Mr Knox, that he was more often than not on duty as a responder and that he had to restrain Patient 1 on more than one occasion. Asked how easy it was to “subdue her”, Mr Fuller replied that it depended on the situation.
Yes its obviously hard to restrain anybody, especially when they’re trying to assault people, and to do it correctly as well, there are certain ways you got to do it
On that instance when we do restrain her she was stood still, if she’s running towards you it makes it more difficult.
Later Mr Knox asked Mr Fuller if he knew what weight Patient 1 was, he didn’t but thought in excess of 20 stone. Asked if there was any hostility between Patient 1 and Mr Fuller, he told the court “no”.
Mr Knox then moved on to discuss Patient 2 with Mr Fuller. The court heard that she was around 50, maybe a little bit younger. Mr Fuller confirmed that Patient 2 communicated using Makaton.
MrK: I understand she didn’t speak?
RF: No, she used to sign, she used Makaton
MrK: Were you actually trained in that or did you pick it up?
RF: We were trained in Makaton, someone came inside Whorlton Hall to teach us over the course of 2 or 3 days, but Patient 2 used her own signs, so what they were teaching you wasn’t really relevant
MrK: Could she understand language?
MrK: Easily or was she unsure?
RF: Sometimes you had to repeat to her, don’t know if that was more reassurance but she definitely understood what you were saying.
Mr Knox then introduced Patient 2’s risk screening and assessment tool, in an unpaginated bundle. Mr Fuller agreed that Patient 2 had a routine, especially around coffee, and he told the court if that were “deviated from there was a high chance she’d scratch you or become unsettled, so lots of new starters struggled with Patient 2”.
MrK: As far as you’re concerned how would you say you got on with her
RF: I got on really well with Patient 2, been there couple years, when I first started I did all my shadowing with females and Patient 2 was there at the time, so I got to know her well.
Mr Fuller added that he was Patient 2’s keyworker, and he was responsible for getting gifts for her on her birthday and at Christmas and he’d get her what she liked. Asked by Mr Knox if he’d ever seen Patient 2 scratch anyone he said he had, himself and other staff. Mr Knox then discussed more of Patient 2’s behaviour and Mr Fuller told the court that if someone didn’t understand her there was a high chance that she’d become more violent.
Mr Knox then moved on to Patient 3. Taking the jury to a further document in the unpaginated bundle. At this stage it became clear that the pages not being numbered was causing difficulty. After some discussion HHJ Smith suggested that court adjourned for the week, the bundles be collected and paginated over the weekend. The jury were sent home just before quarter to four, for the weekend.
17 April 2023
HHJ Smith welcomed the jury back and Mr Knox explained that he’d replaced the bundle with a paginated version with an index.
Mr Knox took Mr Fuller to a Danshell document that related to Patient 4 and detailed incidents involving him from 15 December 2018 to 14 February 2019.
MrK: You knew Patient 4. You wouldn’t have been present throughout all, but does the number of incidents here in document running to 13 pages, does that surprise you?
MrK: I want to take us if I may to page 4 of that ladies and gentleman, may give us a picture of some of the sort of difficulties Patient 4 produced on 8 January… wasn’t one you were party to, but may well have heard of, this is the dentist, got that?
MrK: Appeared there was an incident at the dentist, knowing Patient 4 as you knew him does that surprise you?
RF: No, not at all
MrK: Would he readily you think have been happy to be dealing with a dentist and having his mouth examined?
RF: I wouldn’t have said so, no
Mr Knox took Mr Fuller to other incidents recorded.
MrK: In your experience, after that incident, jury seen video of that, said Patient 4 returned to his own lounge and began to behave positively with staff, does that surprise you?
RF: No. After Patient 4 had an incident he would tend to engage back with staff, be less distressed or less angry, until at any moment he decided he didn’t want to be I suppose.
MrK: So if he had lost his temper, had been an incident, once it was resolved, would he so to speak return to what you might describe as normal or not?
RF: It depends, I suppose it depends on the day, the issue, what was up with Patient 4 what caused his aggression or him to become unsettled, each time could differ.
MrK: Was there anything really that you could describe as typical?
RF: Not really, no
MrK: Was there anything you could described as predictable?
MrK: Was it a simple task, dealing with him?
Mr Knox then moved on to discussing Patient 3. Mr Fuller told the court, in response to questions, that when Patient 3 had first moved to Whorlton Hall he worked with him “quite a bit”. He said he was about his height, maybe a little bigger, quite skinny but extremely strong.
MrK: Strong or not so strong?
RF: Extremely strong
MrK: Was that a matter of surprise when people dealt with him?
RF: Definitely, when you looked at his build you wouldn’t think he had the strength he did have.
MrK: Was his strength, if you had to restrain him, a problem?
Mr Knox took Mr Fuller to Patient 4’s risk screening tool and looked at various elements of it, including threatening behaviour, injuries to others. He read extracts to the court and Mr Fuller agreed with them.
MrK: If we move on to page 16 please ladies and gentlemen, this deals with an aspect of behaviour we haven’t dealt with a lot. You’ve mentioned, this is about running away. Was that something that was a problem with him?
Mr Knox asked a series of questions and Mr Fuller told the court that the garden had a large metal green fence on one side, and a large hedge on the other but at the bottom of the garden was a wooden fence “that you could get over”. Mr Knox asked as staff were trained “or got used to the regime there” was people escaping a factor they were instructed about? Mr Fuller said that those who had a tendency to abscond would have an absconsion care plan, and he told the court that it was something that was taken seriously by management.
MrK: We saw your shirt with green on it, do you remember was someone trying to get out?
RF: I think was someone trying to abscond down the bottom of the garden, another patient at the time
MrK: Presumably was occasions when people did abscond?
RF: Attempted to
MrK: Was it regarded as a serious matter by management?
RF: Yes where Wholrton Hall was situated was a small village, after that was just fields and roads… quite a lot of houses, was one occasion where next house along got their windows put out by someone absconding.
MrK: So was something that had to be taken seriously?
Mr Knox continued to put extracts of Patient 4’s risk screening tool to Mr Fuller and he agreed them. Mr Knox then took Mr Fuller to Patient 6’s segregation reduction careplan and asked him if he were aware of it, and asked him to confirm various aspects of it which he did. Mr Fuller confirmed that Patient 6 lived in a flat within Whorlton Hall which was monitored by CCTV, before Mr Knox turned to a summary document written by a police officer, DC Smith.
MrK: This is what is described by an officer who has reviewed the CCTV, right, I’m not suggesting you necessarily saw these but these are lists of items that have been noted on videos which have been reviewed by a police officer. Now is there anything there that surprises you?
Starting with grabbed clothing of staff member and tried to bite, punched window, grabbed staff?
RF: No, this behaviour was part of what Patient 6 did when he was unsettled.
MrK: Throws food at staff, covers hands with faeces, crawls on floor… conclusion is shows behaviour of Patient 6 as someone who is aggressive, agitated, violent and unpredictable, may assist the defence. Nothing that surprises you there?
Mr Knox then took Mr Fuller to another document and checked with him what it was. Mr Fuller told the court that it was observation notes from 2 February 2019, the first shift was completed by Darren Lawton and the second by an agency staff member named Pascal.
Mr Knox then took Mr Fuller to a risk screening document for Patient 2.
MrK: Patient 2 often holds her hands in a claw like shape, threatens to scratch staff, also attempts to throw items in reach and turn over furniture, hasn’t threatened with knives and other implements although has access to those items. However has thrown coffee table and wet floor sign at people?
Did you understand she had access to knives?
RF: In the ladies kitchen was knives, kitchen equipment. But it was in a locked cupboard.
MrK: Ladies had access under supervision?
RF: Yes, if staff unlocked the cabinet
MrK: What about for the men, was that different?
RF: Was kitchen on the top floor men would use to do their cooking. Again everything was locked away.
Mr Knox checked more of the contents with Mr Fuller who agreed that they were accurate. He then asked specifically about Patient 2’s communication.
MrK: Picture perhaps not apparent from all other documents, is that your experience of different patients?
RF: When unsettled, yes
MrK: You were talking to us about Patient 2 and what we’ve just been through, is that a fair assessment of what you would say about her?
RF: Umm, yes, those were majority of behaviours she did display
MrK: Can you just describe to the jury the way in which she communicated, the language she used, or what language she had. Mainly this hand signage which was to an extent her own creation?
RF: Yes, Patient 2 used Makaton but she used her own signs from Makaton. She would try to say the word, she couldn’t say it but you could understand what she meant, or you did if you worked with her. She had certain signs for certain things, was very limited, just around what Patient 2 needed or wanted, no general conversation about the news or weather or things like that
MrK: Did you understand she was able to understand what was said?
RF: She could understand yes
MrK: But she was pretty much averbal?
Mr Knox then asked Mr Fuller about Patient 3. Mr Fuller told the court that Patient 3 was verbal, he liked music and to dance.
MrK: Did he have a sense of humour?
MrK: There’s talk about him getting amusement from things not immediately obvious to others?
RF: Yeh he’d find things funny, in most things, certain names would make him laugh, I guess that was just his sense of humour.
Mr Knox asked Mr Fuller how he related to Patient 2 and vice versa and Mr Fuller responded:
Yeh me and Patient 3 got on well, I think it was more he had a laugh and a joke when I went down. Patient 3 wasn’t a serious guy, if staff went down he’d have a laugh and a joke with them, he used to talk about different things. Certain staff he liked more, would talk to them more. Yeh, we used to have a good relationship.
Asked by Mr Knox about Patient 5, Mr Fuller told the court that he had communication difficulties but he used a few Makaton signs.
RF: Patient 5 did have communication difficulties, he did used to sign a few bits of Makaton. You had to work with Patient 5 to understand what he was saying, he did speak but sometimes it was hard to understand certain words or phrases. He would become unsettled if you didn’t understand him.
Patient 5 did like to have a joke and a laugh … he had an activity board outside his room, was always busy doing something, towards the end of the day he tended go into his lounge and chill out.
MrK: Did he as far as you could tell have a sense of humour?
Mr Knox then moved on to ask Mr Fuller about Patient 6, who lived in his own flat within Whorlton Hall.
MrK: Now, Patient 6, we’ve heard perhaps a lot about him. Describe to the jury, he lived in this very restricted part of the house, in this flat, were you ever one of the four who’d be keeping eyes on him all the time?
RF: I used to be, when Patient 6 first came he had a certain core team, them people worked with Patient 6. The same people worked with Patient 6 every day, then there was big staff burnout, lot of staff left, so they had to start changing it and getting other people in there etc, so when he first came I did work with him a lot.
Mr Knox then discussed with Mr Fuller a reference we’d heard earlier in the trial, to Patient 6 not liking him or saying that he hated him.
RF: Yes, he went through a stage I couldn’t go in the room without Patient 6 attacking me, we didn’t know why so I got pulled out for a little bit, then slowly started working back with him or going in the room. He stopped attacking me anyway, but we had a different type of relationship, he used to call me names, joke, was never aggressive, or not as anyway.
MrK: Would you ever at any stage want to wind him up?
MrK: Why wouldn’t you want to wind him up?
RF: No-one wants to wind anyone up, especially in Whorlton. Lying on a hard floor for hours at an end restraining someone is not nice.
Mr Knox said that he wished to go through the counts that Mr Fuller faced on the indictment. He asked Mr Fuller if he accepted that he’d threatened Patient 1 with male carers, and Mr Fuller told the court that it wasn’t a threat.
MrK: Is reference I think in the discussion you have to male carers, can you tell us exactly how you’d put that?
RF: Was just due to the fact Patient 1 had attacked her female members of staff and had to change them out. I made reference to Niall and Waqa, as far as I’m aware they’d have been the only free members of staff, so pulling out those who’d been attacked, and in the restraint, to put new faces in there.
MrK: As far as you’re concerned is there any question of you ill-treating or threatening or saying anything intended to hurt, harm or distress her?
RF: Absolutely not
MrK: You’ve said some things about her, on overall scale of ease of restraint, where would she come if 1 is least difficult and 10 is most?
RF: Well no restraint wasn’t difficult. Patient 1 was strong, it was more the screaming when you’re lying right next to her, think that’s what made it difficult I think.
MrK: So where would she come on a scale of 1-10?
MrK: Any question as far as you’re concerned, I won’t replay that video again, any question of you trying to wind her up, punish or be horrid to her?
MrK: Anything you said on that incident they’re referring to, that you ill-treated her?
Mr Knox moved onto Count 11 where Mr Fuller is charged with ill-treating Patient 2 by encouraging her to swear using her middle and forefinger. He played the video clip to the court. In response to questions from Mr Knox, Mr Fuller told the court that Patient 2 wouldn’t have been watching the television which was on in the room, that she’d have been self-regulating, saying “she’d just rock back and forth and bob her head”. Mr Fuller said that he couldn’t see anything he did on that occasion that amounted to ill-treatment, and when asked if he saw anything that was causing her upset he responded “no, she wasn’t upset at all”.
Mr Knox then played the video clip associated with Count 12. Mr Fuller said that Patient 2 had signed and asked him a question and he’d responded. Asked if there was anything as far as he was concerned that indicated Patient 2 appeared to be upset or anxious, or anything described as ill-treatment he replied no to both questions.
Mr Knox then moved to Count 14 where Mr Fuller is charged with ill-treating Patient 3 by encouraging him to swear using his middle finger. Mr Knox played the associated video clip and asked Mr Fuller about it. First he asked Mr Fuller what was going on there and Mr Fuller said that Patient 3 was walking in and out of different rooms to see if he can walk away and staff have got to redirect him, he tried by dancing with him.
MrK: If you wanted to put a technical name on it, what would you describe it as?
RF: What do you mean?
MrK: We’ve heard phrases like diversion or distraction. What were you doing there?
RF: In that sense, just engaging with Patient 3.
MrK: Easy to engage him?
RF: Um, normally yes. Could be times when would be harder when he’s becoming unsettled.
MrK: In terms of unsettled, the jury have just got this clip, settled, unsettled, worrying?
RF: That’s Patient 3 settled
MrK: Right, so if you were a bit worried about him, he was unsettled, what would you expect to see, what were the warning signs as far as you’re concerned?
RF: When asking Patient 3 to get a picture or dance, if he didn’t want to, if he stopped talking or started crying or asked for his weighted blanket, they’re all signs Patient 3 was becoming unsettled.
Mr Fuller explained to the jury, in response to a request from Mr Knox, what a weighted blanket was. Mr Knox then asked Mr Fuller if, as far as he was concerned, did he think he was doing anything wrong or ill-treating Patient 3 and he responded no.
Mr Knox then moved onto Count 15, stating that he wouldn’t repeat the footage as the jury have seen it a number of times. Mr Fuller confirmed that Patient 4 had already been restrained by the time he arrived and that he was responding to the alarm. Asked for the significance of where this restraint was taking place Mr Fuller said it was in the corridor between the kitchen and the dining room and he agreed with Mr Knox’s suggestion that it was an important thoroughfare, and not where you’d want to get into an argument.
In response to questions from Mr Knox, Mr Fuller told the court that he went to hold Patient 4’s head, to prevent him from banging his head off the floor, and to stop him from moving his head to bite or spit at staff.
MrK: Were those things he’d do?
MrK: We also know you took his spectacles off and put them on your own head, what was the point of that?
RF: To keep his spectacles safe, normally if we’re in a bedroom could put them on the bed, but I put them on my head, to keep them safe… and so Patient 4 could see the glasses and knew they were safe.
Asked by Mr Knox whether there was any truth in the suggestion he was taunting or humiliating Patient 4, Mr Fuller responded no. Asked why he’d suggested the removal of his clock and CD player from Patient 4’s room, Mr Fuller told the court that they could both be used as weapons and thrown at staff. He also said that if Patient 4 broke his CD player, it looked to be later at night and then he’d have to go without it for the rest of the night which would cause more incidents through the night.
When Mr Knox said that it was suggested that Mr Fuller was trying to humiliate or upset Patient 4 further by handing around chewing gum whilst restraining Patient 4, he told the court that he was trying to hand out chewing gum, adding “maybe not the best place to do it” but he also suggested that it might take attention away from Patient 4, which might in turn help to de-escalate him. When asked by Mr Knox if it surprised him that later that evening Patient 4 was relating well with staff, Mr Fuller responded “no, Patient 4 could engage well with his staff”.
Mr Knox then moved to Count 23 which he said we’ve not heard very much about. He said that he’d play the video footage to the court and then ask Mr Fuller about it.
MrK: Right, now then, first of all the people who are there? We know that Olivia is there, you’re sitting talking to Olivia and Patient 5 is there in the room?
MrK: We see you then shout, effectively shouting 1-2-3 MAYBO. Then this episode when he’s lying on the ground and you jump down beside him. First of all, so far as that what did you understand his response to all that was?
RF: He didn’t seem stressed or distressed at all. He gets up, looks at that the television with us, he’s talking.
MrK: Do you remember how the discussion came around to MAYBO?
RF: Patient 5 had been there a lot of years. He’d seen not specifically on him, but he’d seen people restrained in the lounge a lot. One day he lay on the floor and I said what’s that 1-2-3 MAYBO, and he laughed and we joked
MrK: Is there any question you were trying to humiliate him?
RF: Not at all
MrK: Intimidate him?
MrK: Upset him?
MrK: Ill-treat him?
MrK: So far as that’s concerned, would you describe that so to speak as something out of a training manual or not?
RF: No, wouldn’t be in a training manual
MrK: What would you describe it as?
RF: Having banter with somebody. I’m having a laugh and joke with him, he’s laughing and joking, he’s happy enough.
In response to Mr Knox’s question Mr Fuller said that he got on well with Patient 5.
Mr Knox then returned to Count 16, in relation to Patient 4 where he said that Mr Fuller was said to be teasing Patient 4 about his medication. Mr Fuller told the court that Patient 4 didn’t like people mentioning diabetes, but he took medication every day.
MrK: Do you think you ever teased him or ill-treated him about his medication?
RF: Urgh no. I asked him to go for his medication.
Mr Knox then moved onto events with Patient 6, relating to Counts 24, 25 and 26. Mr Knox said that what was suggested was that Mr Fuller was antagonising and insulting Patient 6, mocking him and simulating masturbation towards him. In response to further questions Mr Fuller told the court that he thought it was a good idea that patients were outside in the snow, that they didn’t get snow often and it was good to make a snow man and throw snowballs. Asked if, as far as he was concerned, there was anything that could be described as ill-treatment he said no. Asked if he was ill-treating anyone he responded “no, because that leads to incidents, which nobody wants”.
Mr Knox said that the conversation Mr Fuller was having with Patient 6 “does have bad language and apparent aggression in it, what do you say about that” and Mr Fuller told the court that when he started to go back into Patient 6’s room he used to call him all sorts and he would say it back. Mr Fuller said that Patient 6 was laughing, adding that he “would rather have that kind of relationship with him, than walk in and be assaulted every time”.
MrK: Do you feel you did anything that could possibly be described as criminal?
MrK: Did you have any hostility or antagonise any of the patients?
MrK: Did you ever try to do anything to harm, hurt, embarrass or distress them?
Mr Knox’s final question to Mr Fuller was whether he thought he ever did cause harm to or upset patients, and Mr Fuller responded no.
No questions for Mr Fuller from Mr Rutter for Peter Bennett, Mr Constantine for Matthew Banner, Mr Walker for Sarah Banner or Mr Normanton for Karen McGhee.
Mr Patton for Niall Mellor had a number of questions for Mr Fuller.
MrP: How often would you see the psychiatrist visiting this place?
RF: On a Tuesday, for the MDT meetings.
MrP: Would you go into those?
RF: If a patient asked me to.
MrP: Did patients ask you to?
RF: Occasionally. I have been in a couple.
MrP: How long did they last for with the psychiatrist? These meetings, a general idea?
RF: Anywhere from five minutes to two hours.
MrP: Two hours with one patient?
Asked if he ever went into an MDT meeting with Patient 4, Mr Fuller couldn’t remember. Asked if he ever saw the psychiatrist at any times other than Tuesday, Mr Fuller responded no. He confirmed to Mr Patton that he was a full time worker and that Niall Mellor was part time working weekends. Mr Patton then asked Mr Fuller about the amount of overtime he worked, and whether they had a HR department there. Mr Fuller told the court that he thought there was a HR department, but he thought HR were rarely in the building. When Mr Patton asked if he ever saw anyone from HR, Mr Fuller said he couldn’t tell you who was in the HR department.
MrP: There’s a psychologist that works for this organisation?
RF: Dr Perini
MrP: No. He’s the psychiatrist.
RF: I don’t know the name.
MrP: Do you know whether the psychologist was male or female?
RF: I couldn’t tell you off the top of my head, can’t remember who it was.
MrP: Was an occupational therapist?
MrP: Who was that?
RF: John-Paul Husband
MrP: How often did you see him?
RF: Every Tuesday
MrP: At these MDT meetings?
MrP: Any other time?
RF: Not that I can recall.
Asked by Mr Patton if there were people who coordinated activities, Mr Fuller said that they had two activity coordinators in the building and it was a full time role.
MrP: What activities did they coordinate?
RF: Um, they more I think, they more set the plans for which activities each individual could do, for instance they wouldn’t if Patient 6 wanted to do cooking they’d make sure there was no sharp knives, they’d try to find the simplest form of cooking, just as an example. I know they had an office upstairs on the top floor.
MrP: Were they there all week on?
RF: Monday to Friday, yes.
MrP: If we look at Patient 4 what activities did he do?
RF: He listened to music or he’d stand in the lounge
MrP: Do you regard those as activities?
RF: That’s all he did.
MrP: What about Patient 2, what activities did she do?
RF: Patient 2 had a daily outing which she picked from a sheet, other than that she didn’t do anything.
MrP: Patient 1?
RF: She didn’t do anything, other than what I remember lying on the bed, maybe some knitting or writing stories, that was it.
When Mr Patton asked if there were any group organised activities, Mr Fuller said there might have been but none he could remember off the top of his head. When pressed by Mr Patton he said that he remembered them “having a sports day event, once, in the summer”. He said he thought patients from other units came for it but other than that he couldn’t remember any.
Mr Patton asked him, using Patient 4 as an example, what his day would look like. Mr Fuller told the court that he’d have his breakfast, then “he might sit in the lounge, sometimes he’d chat with staff”. He said that he thought he had a phonecall with his sister, which he thought was weekly. Mr Patton suggested Patient 4 was in a poor state physically and Mr Fuller said that he had been when he first arrived. Mr Patton asked Mr Fuller about Patient 4’s medication, what was meant by a low stimulus environment, and the supervisory chain above Mr Mellor. Mr Patton then asked about management at Whorlton Hall.
MrP: Above them [nursing staff]
RF: Deputy Manager
MrP: He was called?
RF: Steve Robdrup
MrP: How often would you see him?
RF: Monday to Friday
MrP: How often would you see him?
RF: Not very often
MrP: Did he ever interact with those people called patients?
RF: Interact, no. If there was an incident and we needed his help we might see him, but day to day activities wouldn’t see him.
Mr Patton then asked Mr Fuller about staff members who’d work with Patient 6. Mr Fuller confirmed that no one with a nursing qualification would regularly work with Patient 6.
MrP: You’ve heard evidence from the Panorama team, that 4-1 was being charged out at £1million pound a year?
RF: Think it was just over a million, yes
MrP: So, four people with him during the day on support worker wages?
MrP: Three people at night on support worker wages?
MrP: And they’re charging over £20,000 a week for him?
MrP: Were any of the nurses mental health nurses there?
RF: I couldn’t say.
Mr Patton had no further questions, and it was over to Ms Brown, counsel for Darren Lawton. Ms Brown wished to discuss with Mr Fuller what she referred to as the 1-2-3 MAYBO incident, which Darren Lawton is jointly charged with on Count 23.
In response to Ms Brown’s questions Mr Fuller confirmed that Mr Lawton was not in the room at the start of the footage, that he didn’t have an independent recollection of the incident and that he didn’t know if he was working on response that day.
Mr Fuller confirmed that there had been a previous occasion where Patient 5 had lain on the floor, but that he wasn’t aware if Mr Lawton had seen it before, that he thought on the video he’d said it was the first time he’d seen it. In response to Ms Brown’s questions Mr Fuller agreed that he had not reported Mr Lawton’s behaviour to any senior management or CQC or the police, because he didn’t have any concerns about Mr Lawton’s behaviour that day.
Ms Brown then asked about what was on the television in the footage, and Mr Fuller thought it was Final Score. When asked if it was on for Patient 5’s benefit, for Mr Fuller’s or Olivia’s, Mr Fuller told the court that Patient 5 used to like watching the football and that he was a Newcastle fan.
MsB: Was he doing anything else, did he have a laptop with him?
RF: He might have done, he normally did have his laptop with him in his lounge
MsB: Reason I’m asking Mr Fuller, same page, p80 of transcripts, about third of the way down you say “1-2-3 MAYBO” and Patient 5 it says in brackets, whispered fuck. Do you know why he said that?
RF: Could have been the football on the TV, it could have been something he was doing on his laptop. Could be any reason.
HHJ: So you’re saying in answer that you don’t know why?
MsB: Moving though the transcript, at p81 we have you and Darren Lawton discussing a restraint. Darren Lawton says “I’ve seen youse two do that before, but never seen it as good as that”. You reply “it was a good fucking take down wasn’t it” and go on to describe incident where you’ve had to use boxing someone in with elbows. Are you discussing events which actually happened?
RF: I couldn’t say.
MsB: Do you have any independent recollection of that restraint you’re discussing here?
RF: I don’t
MsB: Hypothetically, if someone had to be restrained but there was only two of you, what would happen?
RF: You’d have to wait for others to come. I say about elbows, that’s to tip the head back and stop biting before someone can get to the head. In that situation if someone is unsettled you couldn’t let them go without causing serious injury to yourself or someone else.
MsB: So if it is just two of you, is the technique you described there, boxing someone in with elbows, having arms and elbow each side, is that an approved technique?
MsB: Is it a necessary technique?
MsB: What would happen if you didn’t do that?
RF: You could get bit, or spat at, doesn’t sound awful but when someone is spitting in your face it is. Again they could start banging their head depending on the surface.
MsB: How long would you do a hold like that for?
RF: I couldn’t give an answer to that, every hold is different
MsB: Presumably the hope is someone else is coming to assist?
RF: Did you mean with the elbows?
RF: As soon as someone can get on the head
MsB: If they come then what happens?
RF: We resume normal MAYBO holds and start de-escalation.
MsB: But you can’t say whether this you’re discussing with Darren Lawton happened or not?
RF: I don’t have any memory of it.
Ms Brown then moved to asking questions about Count 26, referring to the transcript. Mr Fuller agreed that patients had their preferred staff that they liked, and that Mr Lawton was a staff member that Patient 6 preferred. In response to Ms Brown’s questions, Mr Fuller told the court that Mr Lawton worked with Patient 6 most days.
MsB: Also you will have seen during his time at Whorlton Hall Patient 6 had some improvement didn’t he?
MsB: One of most visible ones was his weight came down?
MsB: Was that because he was on a healthy eating plan?
RF: Yes he was on a healthy eating plan.
Mr Fuller agreed with Ms Brown’s suggestion that Patient 6 would not have been out of his flat, wouldn’t have been in the garden room or the garden, if he was agitated. Asked what would have happened if he showed signs of agitation outside his flat, Mr Fuller told the court that if it could be done safely, staff would have taken him back to his lounge area upstairs because it was locked and away from items that could be used as weapons.
MsB: Mr Fuller would you agree Patient 6 could form good relationships with staff?
MsB: He liked to join in with staff didn’t he?
MsB: He didn’t like to be excluded from staff conversation did he?
RF: No, he didn’t
MsB: And he had a good sense of humour didn’t he?
RF: Very good sense of humour
MsB: If I said Patient 6 was a visual communicator, would you know what I meant by that?
MsB: Instead of saying what’s that… would be better to demonstrate or point
RF: Yes it would be
MsB: The jury will recollect outside in the snow Patient 6 makes simulated masturbation gesture, then we hear Darren Lawton say what’s that or this and he does the gesture?
MsB: Would that be a way of communicating with Patient 6, to help him understand the question Darren Lawton is asking?
In response to Ms Brown’s final questions, Mr Fuller told the court that he didn’t see Patient 6 agitated, or any escalation in his agitation, in the footage. He also confirmed that he didn’t report Mr Lawton’s behaviour to senior management, the CQC or the police and that he had no concern about Mr Lawton’s behaviour on that day.
Ms Brown had no further questions. There were no questions from Mr Dryden for John Sanderson or from Mr Rooney for Sabah Mahmood.
Court was then adjourned for a mid morning break and on our return, it was over to Ms Richardson for her cross examination.
Ms Richardson asked Mr Fuller how he could square the two sentiments of what he says in footage where he says that Patient 1 “normally kicks off when there are 2 males” and also says “she hates the thought of it but at the same time she responds better with males”. Mr Fuller told the court that Patient 1 would kick off when there were two males, but she only had two males if she was unsettled anyway.
Moving onto Count 9 Ms Richardson asked Mr Fuller how he thought saying to Patient 1 in her presence and hearing that she could always have Niall and Waqa for the rest of the shift, would assist her to calm down. Mr Fuller responded that he couldn’t say what he was thinking at the time but they were obviously the only free staff “and if she’s coming out attacking the staff she’s got then change of face is needed”.
In response to Ms Richardson’s questions Mr Fuller told the court that he said this when Patient 1 was screaming, rather than saying it out of earshot because he didn’t know how long they’d be there for. When Ms Richardson suggested that it was because it was a threat, Mr Fuller replied “not at all”. Ms Richardson said that Mr Fuller prefaced what he said with “excuse me I’m trying to talk” but that the niceties of whose turn it is to talk goes out the window when someone is being restrained, and Mr Fuller responded “not necessarily”.
MsR: Why shout for Waqa? He’d gone at that point.
RF: Because Waqa had a calming voice
MsR: You start to deprecate Waqa as someone who is slimy, in front of Patient 1
RF: I didn’t say that
MsR: It’s as if she isn’t there isn’t it?
RF: I didn’t say that
MsR: An example on page 43 “she does nowt, she sits and eats”. She is there in front of you isn’t she?
RF: I don’t know, I would have to see the clip
MsR: Then we’ll show you the clip
Ms Richardson had said earlier that she didn’t intend to show the clips again as they’d been shown earlier.
MsR: You say you didn’t call Waqa slimy, can you look at the transcript please, half way down page [didn’t catch]. Sarah Banner says “as slimy as Waqa”, you say “that was a low blow”… you said “slimy Waqa’. I appreciate others did as well…
RF: I think I’m just chuckling about it, I hadn’t heard anyone call him slimy
MsR: Did you think it was appropriate to discuss a member of staff like that, in front of a patient being restrained?
RF: I didn’t say it, I know I said it there, but I was chuckling
MsR: Did you think it was appropriate to say that?
RF: Don’t know. Patient 1 liked Waqa
MsR: Did you think it was appropriate to say that?
RF: Depends on the circumstances
MsR: Well the circumstances are as in the clip, I’ll ask you for a fourth time
RF: Yeh, could have been a distraction so yeh, could have been
MsR: Were you using as a distraction technique? Is that your evidence to the jury?
RF: I can’t say what my frame of mind was at that time.
Ms Richardson then asked Mr Fuller what he’d meant by saying that Patient 1 “did nowt and all she did was sit and eat”, in front of Patient 1.
MsR: Page 43, at the top Karen McGhee is saying she’s got bigger, you asked to see the clip, we’ll play it, thank you Mr Herrmann. We’ll play you that clip in a moment, p43 you say “she does nowt, she sits and eats”. What did you mean by saying that in front of Patient 1?
RF: Umm, was just following on from what was being said. I mean she didn’t have many hobbies Patient 1, or interests, she just liked to sit in bed. Maybe not the most appropriate thing to say in front of her.
MsR: She’s on the floor, being restrained and you’re talking about her sitting around doing nothing. Did you think that would assist her being calm and de-escalate?
RF: I don’t know. Was just the conversation at the time.
MsR: Was that the usual way you spoke about people Mr Fuller?
RF: Wouldn’t say so, no.
Ms Richardson moved onto Counts 11 and 12. Mr Fuller agreed that Patient 2 was someone who didn’t communicate verbally and he told the court he wasn’t aware she had any problems with her hearing. When Ms Richardson asked Mr Fuller if he thought what he was saying and doing was appropriate, professional and the right thing to do, Mr Fuller replied yes. Ms Richardson asked again.
MsR: Did you think teaching Patient 2 to flip her fingers was appropriate, professional and the right thing to do?
RF: Patient 2 swore before. She’s a grown adult, if she flips her fingers she flips her fingers.
MsR: Was there anything wrong with asking her to do that?
RF: Is swearing wrong?
MsR: Is there anything wrong in doing that in front of Patient 6?
RF: Other patients who also swear and are adults
MsR: That’s not the question. Did you think is anything wrong with doing it?
When Ms Richardson asked Mr Fuller why it was so important to wave his hand in front of Patient 2’s face to get her attention, he said that he’d not said it was important.
MsR: You have said you didn’t think was anything wrong with it?
RF: An adult swearing? No.
Ms Richardson moved to another part in the transcript, telling the jury that they still related to Counts 11 and 12.
MsR: You say “Don’t tell anybody I taught her that because I’ll get told off, flip Olivia, flip Olivia”. Why say don’t tell anyone I’ll get told off if you didn’t think was anything wrong with it?
RF: Because it might not be classed as professional.
MsR: In what way? You’ve just said they’re adults, she swears, I swear back, so why are you worried about someone saying Ryan Fuller taught her that?
RF: In my role as a senior, might not be seen as professional.
MsR: It wasn’t the only time you were worried what others might say if found out what you were up to was it?
Ms Richardson took the court to another point in the transcript and said that this related to Count 14 with Patient 3. Ms Richardson said to Mr Fuller that he’d told Mr Knox that he didn’t think he was ill-treating any of these patients, so she asked why Mr Fuller was telling the other staff member present “don’t do that, delete that, I’ll get fucked”.
MsR: Why would you get fucked with a photograph?
RF: Again, given my senior position, don’t think would be classed as professional. At the same time we didn’t see what happened before that clip.
MsR: Did you think it was professional to get a man of Patient 3’s limited capability to stick his finger up?
RF: Patient 3 swore, he swore all day
MsR: You made that point, did you think it was appropriate to have a photograph of Patient 3 with his fingers up, both of you?
RF: It could be, it couldn’t be, it depends on how people would take it
HHJ: who do you mean by people?
RF: Senior management, nurses etc
MsR: Is that what you meant by I’ll get fucked?
MsR: I see. Patient 4 you knew was someone who could be verbally abusive, physically aggressive and had certain triggers?
In response to a question from Ms Richardson, Mr Fuller told the court that medication wasn’t a trigger for Patient 4, but mention of his diabetes was.
MsR: Given he couldn’t leave and he had very little control over his own life, do you agree he wouldn’t want to be sectioned for any longer than necessary?
RF: I don’t think anyone would want to be sectioned for longer than necessary
MsR: And you’d agree nothing you did was designed to antagonise his behaviour, wouldn’t you?
MsR: When someone is being restrained it is a tense time for staff isn’t it?
MsR: And a tense time for the patient. When someone is on the floor is the aim to be there for the least possible time?
MsR: Is it funny when someone is in restraint?
MsR: Do you like to be a joker amongst your peers Mr Fuller?
RF: I do
MsR: You do?
RF: I do
When Ms Richardson asked Mr Fuller if he liked to make staff laugh with his antics, he responded “we didn’t have much time for debriefs, so trying to make staff laugh, it made it a little bit better”.
Ms Richardson moved to Count 15 and told the court they’d seen this clip of Patient 4 in the corridor being restrained many, many times.
MsR: He’s repeatedly calling you all bastards, many, many times the jury have heard that. Why did you feel the need, bearing in mind this man is on the floor being restrained, clearly upset and agitated, why did you feel the need to say “just in case you didn’t catch it you’re a bastard”?
RF: I was trying to get Patient 4 to laugh
MsR: But he wasn’t joining in the laughter was he?
RF: No. That’s why I did it once.
Ms Richardson asked Mr Fuller further questions about what he’d said in that incident.
MsR: You say “howay Karen, play along, thought you were good at role play”. Why are you mentioning role play in a tense situation for you, patient, other staff?
RF: Not too sure why I mentioned it, honestly don’t know why I mentioned it, don’t know where it fits into it.
MsR: What did you mean by saying “I thought I’d mix that into it”?
RF: Not too sure, I’m just reading the transcript now
[short pause while he read it]
MsR: Do you have an answer as to why you said that Mr Fuller?
RF: I don’t
HHJ asked clarifying questions about patients doing their own laundry [mentioned earlier in that clip]. Mr Fuller told the court that some patients would do their own laundry, but he wasn’t sure if Patient 4 was one of them.
MsR: Thank you your honour. Page 59, this is the part of the transcript, ladies and gentlemen, and you have seen this morning, where you’re handing chewing gum around to everyone. I accept Mrs McGhee asks for it first, but it wasn’t designed to calm down the man on whom you were doing the restraint was it?
RF: Not necessarily no. But if someone asked would give them a bit, and isn’t engaging, take the focus off he might come back round.
MsR: But he doesn’t does he?
RF: Like you’ve been told before, it’s a slow decline
Ms Richardson suggested to Mr Fuller that there intellectually there was no contest between him and Patient 4. Mr Fuller responded “I wouldn’t say that”. When Ms Richardson asked him whether he’d say he was on an equal par with mental facilities and capacity and so on, Mr Fuller said that it wasn’t for him to say.
MsR: Would you agree with me you’re not on an equal par?
RF: How do you mean?
MsR: You’re not on a section are you?
RF: No, I’m not.
When Ms Richardson asked Mr Fuller why he’d put Patient 4’s glasses on, he told the court that he’d done it to keep them safe. Asked why he didn’t pass the glasses to one of the female staff members not involved in the restraint, Mr Fuller told the court that it might have upset Patient 4 more.
MsR: Then you become the joker of the pack don’t you, saying “who do I look like? Superman? Clark Kent?” … at one point you put your finger to your nose to put the glasses back in place
RF: I don’t understand how that would make fun of Patient 4
MsR: You knew that would upset him.
RF: It didn’t…
MsR: You don’t think he was upset by that?
RF: He was already unsettled on the floor, it didn’t upset him any further by doing that. I’m trying get Patient 4 to come back down, if he starts laughing that’s half the battle.
MsR: I Just want to understand your evidence, you said you took glasses put them on, so they’re safe and Patient 4 could see them? Your evidence was that would help Patient 4 come back down?
RF: He could see they were safe.
Ms Richardson then played a clip and asked questions relating to Count 16, directing the jury to the relevant pages in the transcript.
MsR: How did you think telling Patient 4 he would be on his Section 3 longer would assist him? Or you?
RF: Patient 4 likes a firm approach. I tell him what is the reality if he decides not to take his medication.
MsR: You can see on that screen there, another man laughing at what you’re saying and Patient 4’s reaction. Are you a man that likes to get a rise out of patients at their expense Mr Fuller?
RF: No, I’ve gone by then, if he’s laughing by then that’s on him.
Ms Richardson then asks Mr Fuller questions about Patient 5, saying that she won’t re-play the footage because Mr Knox had played it this morning. Mr Fuller agreed with Ms Richardson that restraint was a tertiary strategy, not to be used unless other strategies had failed.
Ms Richardson asks how it came about that Patient 5 was lying on the floor and Mr Fuller was simulating a MAYBO restraint.
MsR: You’re getting Patient 5 to lie on the floor and show what happens during a 1-2-3 MAYBO. Can you help us with why it was you decided to do that?
RF: Patient 5 showed me before… he laid on the floor and showed after someone had been restrained… he had a sense of humour, liked to laugh with staff, that’s how it came about.
MsR: That’s how it came about on a previous occasion, I’m asking about this occasion?
RF: It says there. I said “Patient 5, 1-2-3 MAYBO”
MsR: Why did you say that on this occasion?
RF: I don’t know why. What I was thinking at the time.
MsR: Did you do it for a cheap laugh at his expense?
MsR: Did you do it to show off to Olivia Davies?
When Ms Richardson suggested that Patient 5 wasn’t laughing, Mr Fuller told the court that he looked happy when he got up off the floor, and he also said when he shouted “come on” he thought that was about the football on the TV. Asked why he shouted, Mr Fuller responded that it was banter.
Ms Richardson suggested that banter would be reciprocal, and this interaction wasn’t. Mr Fuller responded that he didn’t know, to a question from Ms Richardson about why he’d said that they “looked like bastards”.
MsR: Would senior members of staff have approved of what you were doing?
RF: Don’t know
MsR: Would you have welcomed senior staff to see what you were doing?
RF: I don’t know
MsR: A restraint isn’t something to joke about is it?
Mr Fuller responded that Patient 5 liked to joke about it. Mr Richardson said that a restraint wasn’t something to be boasted about and Mr Fuller told the court that he didn’t see where he boasted in that clip.
MsR: Why are you crouched and getting off the chair? Why are you doing that?
RF: Again was just having laugh with Patient 5. He didn’t seem stressed or distressed. We get back up and he seems fine.
Ms Richardson then moved on to talking about another incident, relating to Patient 5.
MsR: Where you boasted about a restraint that James C had seen, p81, Mr Lawton says to you about 7 or 8 lines down “James C says I’ve seen youse before but never as good as that”, and you said “it was a good fucking take down”. Lots of laughing, why are you laughing about a restraint?
RF: I don’t know, I don’t have any memory of that restraint.
MsR: Would you agree with me it’s not appropriate to laugh about a restraint?
RF: No, its not. But it’s also the way staff deal with debrief
MsR: That’s your evidence to the jury is it? Was debriefing?
RF: Could be
MsR: But he’s a big man [Patient 6], required four members of staff?
MsR: You wouldn’t want to provoke him into a reaction?
MsR: It’s not part of your job to tease him?
MsR: Not part of your job to mock his disabilities was it?
MsR: As far as you’re concerned did he like you?
RF: He was beginning to like me again, yes.
Ms Richardson took Mr Fuller to another point in the transcript and asked him if he would agree that he was telling Mr Mellor that Patient 6 didn’t like him. Mr Fuller said he didn’t know because he couldn’t see what they were talking about before the footage started. Ms Richardson asked Mr Fuller what he meant when he said to Patient 6 “get a better, decent beard” and “if you want to get the rest of your teeth out as well, suggest you continue”? Mr Fuller said that Patient 6 would say things and he’d say things back “to try build relationship back up, used to joke, was nothing meant by it”.
MsR: So did you mean saying “if you want rest of your teeth out continue”, was something that would help Patient 6 to come to baseline or remain at baseline or agitate and escalate him?
RF: To remain at baseline. If Patient 6 wanted to become aggressive there aren’t many things that would stop that …
MsR: You didn’t have to engage like this with Patient 6 did you?
RF: No, but I did want to build a relationship back up with him.
MsR: If we go to page 95 to 96 of that divider “wanker”, “dickhead” you say, he says “numpty”, you say “arsehole”, then he says “prick face” and you say “prick” and so it goes on… Why were you behaving like a child with him?
RF: Again I was engaging with Patient 6. He was saying things to me and I said things back.
MsR: He was just being wound up for your amusement wasn’t it?
RF: No, he wasn’t
MsR: What did you mean there by “do your best crucifix impression on the wall?”. What did you mean by that?
RF: Not too sure.
Ms Richardson took Mr Fuller to a reference of a conversation before they all went out in the snow.
MsR: Daniel says “it’s the Ryan show now isn’t it”. That’s what you wanted it to be didn’t you?
MsR: You wanted staff to show off and make staff laugh at the expense of Patient 6 didn’t you?
RF: No. Not at all.
Ms Richardson moved onto Count 25, and asked Mr Fuller why he was continually engaging with Patient 6.
MsR: “howay big man” and he’s calling you a bully. Why are you doing that?
RF: What talking back to him?
RF: I’m engaging with him
MsR: With what in mind? What are you trying to do?
RF: Build up that relationship we used to have
MsR: This is a man you’ve said is physically aggressive, a very volatile, complex man, yet you’re goading him into fighting with you. Why?
RF: I’m trying to build that relationship back up, he’s this volatile aggressive man, but there’s no fighting, there no aggression from him.
Ms Richardson then moved to Count 26, using the same video clip.
MsR: You say here “I’m fucking freezing” and you say… someone says it’s cold and Patient 6 says “see you later prick” and you say “what did you call me?”. Why didn’t you ignore him? Why are you constantly answering back like a child?
RF: Maybe I didn’t hear what he said.
MsR: He became increasingly wound up doesn’t he?
RF: No. I don’t think he does.
MsR: You don’t?
Ms Richardson plays the clip.
MsR: There’s you and Mr Lawton, emulating what he is doing, making mock masturbatory movements towards him, why?
RF: If you asked Patient 6 what he was doing and didn’t explain what it was you were asking, he wouldn’t understand what you were on about.
MsR: So when you say “what’s this” and make a mock wanking movement, help me with how that would assist him in not escalating his behaviour?
RF: Doing a masturbation technique is a trigger for Patient 6? I don’t understand.
MsR: You’re having a laugh, you and Mr Lawton aren’t you?
RF: He joins in
MsR: He joins in? He becomes increasingly wound up doesn’t he?
RF: No, there’s none of that.
MsR: Is that what you wanted? To get him in a restraint?
RF: No, no-one wants to get in a restraint.
Ms Richardson plays the next clip and asks Mr Fuller again whether he is saying that Patient 6 is not becoming increasingly agitated, he says that Patient 6 is not becoming increasingly agitated.
MsR: What on earth were you doing behind that window?
RF: I couldn’t see. Trying to talk to Patient 6.
MsR: Why do you need to talk to Patient 6? He’s got carers outside with him.
RF: To build back our relationship
MsR: You’re just winding him up aren’t you? To get a reaction and a laugh at his expense?
RF: Not at all
Ms Richardson continues the clip and asks Mr Fuller why he is calling Patient 6 “bright eyes” and he tells the court that was what Patient 6 said about his own eyes.
RF: He said he had very bright eyes
MsR: That wasn’t you just taking the mickey was it?
RF: I don’t see how calling someone bright eyes would be taking the mick.
The clip is played further.
MsR: What are you banging on the window for?
RF: Um I don’t know.
MsR: You don’t know?
RF: I can’t see whats outside the window from this angle.
The clip is played further still.
MsR: Help us with why you’re still there at the window? What’s your purpose there Mr Fuller?
RF: I’m obviously in the dining room for some reason
MsR: Obviously, because we can see you there. What’s your purpose?
RF: I don’t know
MsR: Were you there to wind him up?
Ms Richardson asks for the clip to be continued.
MsR: This is the same day, 30 seconds later, thank you. That’s Mr Lawton saying “stop shouting through the window”. Have you any idea why Mr Lawton was concerned about you shouting through the window?
RF: You’ll have to ask Darren
MsR: Did you think you were doing anything wrong by shouting through the window?
Ms Richardson takes Mr Fuller to a point later in the transcript, at page 118.
MsR: Mr Lawton is saying “leave him alone, stop winding him up”. You were winding him up weren’t you?
RF: Um, no
MsR: Is that what you like to do, to appear a joker and a big man in front of people Mr Fuller?
MsR: Winding him up?
MsR: A man like Patient 6, having a laugh at his expense?
No further questions from Ms Richardson.
Mr Knox had two final questions for his client.
MrK: Were you being cruel to him?
RF: Absolutely not
MrK: Were you cruel to any of the patients in that establishment?
RF: Absolutely not.
MrK: Unless your Honour has any further questions?
HHJ Smith doesn’t have any questions
MrK: Your Honour, that’s the case for Ryan Fuller.
Court was adjourned for lunch at 1pm.
Next up was the sixth defendant, Niall Mellor, but I’ll report that tomorrow when his evidence is complete.