Whorlton Hall Prosecution – 19 and 20 April 2023 – John Sanderson

19 April 2023

The penultimate defendant, John Sanderson, was called to give evidence after the morning break. He gave an affirmation and his counsel, Mr Dryden, started by asking him to face the jury when giving his evidence.

MrD: You are charged with two counts of ill-treatment involving the patient or service user, Patient 4. For the benefit of the jury those two counts are these, Count 16 on the indictment, an allegation from 2 February 2019, where its alleged you’ve ill-treated Patient 4 by teasing him about his medication, ok. There’s a second count, Count 22 on the indictment from 25 February 2019 and allegation of ill-treatment there is you’ve tampered with Patient 4’s belongings, you threatened him with violence, and goaded him into having a fight, ok. Those are the two allegations we’ll be discussing.

JS: Yes

MrD: First things first, how old are you?

JS: 25

MrD: You’re 26 next week?

JS: That’s correct yes

MrD: We know from the agreed facts you stated work at Whorlton Hall on 4 June 2018

JS: Yes that’s correct

Mr Dryden told the court that Mr Sanderson had just turned 21 when he starting working at Whorlton Hall, which he confirmed. Asked how he found out about the vacancy at Whorlton Hall he told the court “one of my co-defendants Niall Mellor had informed me there was a vacancy available, and he set up an interview for me”. Mr Sanderson told the court that Mr Mellor, was his friend, and he was already working there.

MrD: Before stating at Whorlton Hall, what were you doing?

JS: I did an IT apprenticeship once I left college

MrD: For 2 years?

JS: Yes

MrD: Once you completed that IT apprenticeship, what did you do after that?

JS: Unfortunately the apprenticeship didn’t keep me on, so I fell into unemployment for a couple of years

Mr Dryden confirmed with Mr Sanderson that he’d been unemployed prior to starting at Whorlton Hall. He then asked him about what training he received before starting work there. Mr Sanderson said he couldn’t remember whether it was a one or two week course but he told the court that it covered manual handling, health and safety, and MAYBO.

MrD: Manual handling, health and safety, and MAYBO training. That required you to go on a course for a week or two weeks?

JS: Think it might have been two weeks

MrD: In terms of the MAYBO element. How long was that?

JS: 3 days

MrD: When you stated working at Whorlton Hall, had you any experience of the care sector or working with patients with complex difficulties?

JS: None whatsoever

MrD: So this was your first job in the care sector?

JS: Yeh it was

MrD: You were contracted to work 40 hours a week?

JS: Yes 40 hours a week

MrD: And your rate of pay was £7.84 an hour?

JS: Yes

Asked by Mr Dryden if he ever worked overtime or night shifts, Mr Sanderson told the court that he was 40 hours to start with and was injured within 5 weeks of starting work, he said that he had worked one nightshift.

Mr Sanderson told the court, in response to questions from Mr Dryden, that when he started he was “initially told to read” patient’s careplans, that he was given “a small timeframe, wouldn’t say I read all patients, but the ones I was working with”. He told the court that one of the managers had given him the careplans, in a quiet room out the way and told him to briefly look through them, and suggested focusing on triggers.

MrD: Can you recall who you were paired with, which service user you observed?

JS: My first two patients I started to build rapport with was Patient 3 and Patient 6

MrD: Those were the first two service users you were placed on observations with? Patients 3 and 6?

JS: Yes

MrD: We’ve heard in evidence those two patients could be challenging?

JS: Extremely challenging, yes

When Mr Dryden asked Mr Sanderson whether he knew before he started work how challenging the patients could be, he responded that he didn’t, that it said in the careplan but that you “don’t understand until you see it”.

MrD: Did managers say anything?

JS: Management said to me these two are most volatile in the unit, and if can work with them, you can work with any patients.

MrD: When you say management, who told you that?

JS: Stephen Robdrup and Chris Shield

MrD: So if you can work with these two, you can work with anybody?

JS: Yes

Mr Sanderson told the court, in response to questions from Mr Dryden, that within a few weeks of starting at Whorlton Hall he was injured. He started working there on 4 June 2018 and was injured the following month on 27 July 2018. Asked to explain to the court what happened, Mr Dryden said that he’d switched shifts with a colleague and was working the night shift, from 8pm to 8am on 27 July 2018. He was placed on observation of Patient 3, he told the court when he started that Patient 3 was on 2-1 staffing, he thought he was put up to 3-1 staffing but he couldn’t quite remember.

MrD: So when you were placed with Patient 3, what happened that night please?

JS: I was placed with Patient 3, and another member of staff, who was agency and unfortunately untrained

MrD: So it wasn’t a full time member staff at Whorlton Hall, was agency staff?

JS: Yes

MrD: What happened?

JS: Unfortunately as I entered the room Patient 3 was displaying escalation.

MrD: What was happening?

JS: Nothing, he was sitting there saying nothing… and he started crying

HHJ checked what had been said

JS: He appeared sullen. From the agency staff leaving to go home, they said they’d accidentally rushed his bath.

HHJ: Rushed his bath?

JS: Therefore leading Patient 3 to believe he’d done something wrong, I tried to explain to him he hadn’t done anything wrong, and it went from 0 to 100 really quick….

MrD: What happened then?

JS: He escalated, rather quickly, in the blink of an eye he was up in the air, he assaulted me. I pulled the attack alarm, as I turned to look at my colleague who was untrained he left the room and I was left with Patient 3. Must have been 3-4 minutes before anyone came… extreme violence

Mr Dryden asked Mr Sanderson further questions about that night and he told the court that due to extreme shortages of staff on nights it took them 3-4 minutes to reach him and he sustained an injury to his wrist.

Mr Sanderson told the court that when other staff arrived, Patient 3 was put into an open supine restraint on the floor. He participated in the restraint as he was not aware that he was injured at that time, and in response to further questions from Mr Dryden, he told the court that he was restraining Patient 3’s legs and he could see the deformity in his right wrist “straight away”.

Asked where he went after the restraint Mr Sanderson told the court that he was informed to leave immediately and go to the nurse’s office. Mr Dryden asked about the procedure if a staff member was injured and Mr Sanderson told the court that it would be reported in an accident book that was kept in the nurse’s office.

That night Mr Sanderson told the court he went to the nurse’s office and there was a nurse on shift, but he explained that due to the fact no one could take him from Whorlton Hall to the hospital he was told to ring his grandparent who he was living with at the time, but she was already in bed by then so his co-defendant Ms McGhee who had just finished a shift, came back to Whorton Hall to collect him and take him to hospital.

Mr Sanderson told the court that he was told his injury was too swollen, so he was given a temporary cast and asked to return to the hospital within 48hours for the actual cast.

MrD: As a result of that injury you were off work for a considerable period of time?

JS: I was

MrD: Injury was 27 July and you didn’t return to work until 31 October 2018?

JS: Yes

MrD: You were off work for nearly 3 months?

JS: Yes

MrD: Who was paying you for the time you were off?

JS: Danshell at the time, now known as Cygnet

MrD: So you were still paid for this 3 month period?

JS: I was yes

Mr Dryden checked, and Mr Sanderson confirmed, that when he first worked at Whorlton Hall, in the period before his injury, Patient 4 was not resident there. He moved to Whorlton Hall while Mr Sanderson was off work injured in August.

MrD: When you return on 31 October 2018, Patient 4 is now at Whorlton Hall. What was your first interaction with Patient 4?

JS: Before I had an interaction with Patient 4 I was ushered into the office by management who gave me a brief rundown of what to expect from Patient 4.

MrD: You say management, who was speaking to you about Patient 4? Mr Robdrup or Mr Shield?

JS: Both of them

MrD: Were you ever given his careplan?

JS: I wasn’t shown to look at it on my own, but was given it and shown what to look out for for Patient 4, if he comes unsettled

MrD: So they have the careplan and highlight parts of it to you?

JS: Yes they showed it and ran a pen along it

MrD: What was highlighted by management as far as Patient 4 was concerned?

JS: He could become extremely unpredictable when he displayed violence and to stay out of his way because I’m injured.

In response to Mr Dryden’s questions Mr Sanderson told the court that he’d returned to work on restricted duties and that he didn’t have a cast on but was wearing a temporary splint. Asked if his duties changed when he returned he said that they did, Mr Dryden then asked what the change was.

JS: After the accident I couldn’t be in the vicinity with patients on my own, due to the fact I only had one hand. I couldn’t get involved with any restraint, therefore they put to me my duties would be assisting other members of staff such as nurses if needed medication for patients, doing internal and external checks of the building, shopping lists for patients etc

MrD: those types of duties, no active physical restraints?

JS: No

MrD: Were management keen for you to come back prior to 31 October?

JS: Yes on multiple occasions whilst off with injury I was harassed by Chris Shield to reattend work on amended duties, such as laundry, things like that.

Mr Sanderson explained that his doctor had told him not to return to work until his injury had fully healed, which is why he did not return earlier.

MrD: Having returned to work did you ever have any observations of Patient 4 after 31 October 2018?

JS: No

MrD: So in terms of your interactions with Patient 4, what would they be?

JS: He’d get agitated in corridors, shout about things, swear, just usual Patient 4 really

MrD: Having returned to work on 31 October 2018 you sustained a second injury didn’t you?

JS: Unfortunately yes

Asked to explain what happened Mr Sanderson told the court that on 7 December 2018 he was with another patient at Whorlton Hall, Patient 11, who was on 1-1 as he hadn’t attacked anyone in 18 months. Mr Sanderson said that he entered the lounge to see if Patient 11 wished to go back upstairs and another patient, Patient 5, became agitated and tried to get to the agency staff. Asked by HHJ Smith what Patient 5 did, Mr Sanderson told the court that he “rushed at me with a pool cue and proceeded to attack me with a pool cue”, resulting in him re-fracturing his wrist in the same place as previously.

Asked by Mr Dryden whether that was recorded in the accident book, Mr Sanderson said that it was, and he was able to get a lift to hospital from a family member on this occasion.

MrD: You’re then off work until 11 January 2019?

JS: That’s correct

MrD: On this second enforced absence, who’s paying you at this point?

JS: Can’t remember if it had changed to Cygnet by then but still paid by the company employed by.

MrD: When you got back to Whorlton Hall in January 2019, 11 January, by that time Olivia Davies would have been working there wouldn’t she?

JS: Yes

MrD: She started while you were off on your second period of illness?

JS: I believe so yes

MrD: Do you recall the first time you saw or met Olivia Davies?

JS: I can’t quite recall that no

MrD: You do recall meeting her?

JS: I do yes

Asked what he thought of her Mr Sanderson told the court that Ms Davies “stuck out like a sort thumb really”, asked what he meant by that he said that she’d wear her hair down and the way that she dressed for work was different.

MrD: You were 21 at the time. Were you attracted to her?

JS: I was yes

MrD: Did you ever actually work with her?

JS: No, I don’t believe so

MrD: Was she mainly working with female service users?

JS: From what I gathered yes

Asked whether he ever socialised with Ms Davies, went to the pub with her or out for a meal, or whether he ever asked her out, Mr Sanderson responded no, asked by Mr Dryden if he ever wanted to ask Ms Davies out, Mr Sanderson responded “from time to time, yes”.

Mr Dryden then moved onto the footage recorded on 2 February 2019, by Ms Davies, relating to Count 16. He gave the transcript reference and said that he’d play the footage first, before asking Mr Sanderson about it.

In response to a question from Mr Dryden, the court heard from Mr Sanderson that he knew Patient 4 had diabetes, that he knew to some extent that there were difficulties in getting Patient 4 to take his medication and that he thought the initial problem would be asking Patient 4 to come for his medication.

Mr Sanderson told the court that when the footage showed him rubbing his hands together it was “simply me psyching myself up because I don’t know how he’ll respond to me asking that question”. Mr Dryden clarified that Mr Sanderson could not give medication to patients, and Mr Sanderson explained that the space outside the nurses’s room was small and so part of his duties was to go and inform patient that they needed to go and take their medication.

Mr Sanderson told the court that one of the nurses, either Clare or Sophie, had asked him to inform Patient 4 that he needed to go and take his medication. Mr Dryden asked him what he meant on the footage where he’s seen to say to Patient 4 that he was his “best pal” and Mr Sanderson told the court that Patient 4 would say “best friends… friends please… best friends please” and would give staff members a cuddle and he’d done this with Mr Sanderson and given him a piece of paper and asked him to write his shopping list out for him.

MrD: That happened that morning?

JS: Yes

MrD: When you ask him to take his medication he doesn’t react very well?

JS: No

MrD: The first reference was made by another Support Worker, Sean… [fuller question, didn’t catch, apologies]

JS: Yes that’s correct

MrD: Once you’ve asked Patient 4 to take his medication and he appears to be upset about that request, when you’re walking away from him you appear to be smiling? Something appears to have amused you? What was going on there?

JS: Nothing amused me, was highly inappropriate… was coping mechanism, either you laugh or you cry

Asked if he spoke to Mr Fuller about this, Mr Sanderson said that he did, and as he was a senior member of staff and that “in some form of policy” it said that if you ask a patient something, such as to take their medication, and they don’t listen to you, then you go to a senior member of staff, and if that doesn’t work you go to the nurse.

MrD: At the very end of that clip we’ve heard, is an interaction between you and Patient 4, it isn’t transcribed… what Patient 4 says, he’s in the background shouting “fucking liar”. Do you know why he might have been shouting that?

JS: Yes, because in Patient 4’s mind only a nurse could ask him to take his medication, he’s calling me a liar because I’m not a nurse, which I’m not

MrD: Your response to that, he calls you a fucking liar, you say, “it’s right Patient 4, if we cant go for our meds all the outings get stopped unfortunately” … “if you’re refusing you’re not helping yourself are you bud?”

JS: Yes that’s correct

MrD: What’s that reference to outings being stopped?

JS: If a patient did not take their medication they weren’t deemed safe in the community so they could not go out and do an outing… shopping, cinema, beach

MrD: Was that a general policy at Whorlton Hall?

JS: I don’t know, just from what I heard

HHJ: Who did you hear it from?

JS: Other staff, senior management

MrD: If a service user wasn’t taking their medication, would it be appropriate to take them out, on bus for a day out, if they hadn’t taken their medication?

JS: No

Mr Dryden then moved to the second clip, taken on 25 February 2019 and associated with Count 22. Mr Sanderson confirmed that the footage was shot in Patient 4’s flat, in his lounge. Mr Dryden played the clip and then asked questions about it.

Asked why Mr Dryden why he was in Patient 4’s room, Mr Sanderson told the court that he was conducting 1-1 observations of Patient 11 who had requested a bath, in the communal bath on the first floor. Mr Sanderson said that it had come to his knowledge that the bath plug was missing, and a few weeks prior Patient 4 had taken the bath plug and an incident had occurred when he didn’t wish to give it back. Mr Sanderson told the court that he spoke to management to see whether it was OK for him to retrieve the bath plug and whether he should close Patient 4’s windows as they could feel the draught downstairs.

MrD: You’ve gone to ask for the plug as directed by management. Who asked you to do that?

JS: Patient 11, the patient I was watching requested a bath so I had to find the bathplug.

MrD: And you thought it may be in Patient 4’s room?

JS: Yes, through past incidents

Mr Dryden asked whether Mr Sanderson was still wearing a cast on his wrist, he told the court that it was a support splint, but that he was still working on restricted duties.

MrD: So, you go in for two reasons, to retrieve the bath plug and for windows closing? Olivia Davies is there, and another male, who’s that?

JS: Off the top of my head James

MrD: When you went into Patient 4’s living area were you surprised to see Olivia there?

JS: Yes

MrD: Why was that?

JS: Usually females aren’t working with him at that time, you can see he’s getting agitated and tells the camera get out of there

MrD: Let’s concern ourselves with you first. What do you do when you enter the lounge?

Mr Sanderson told the court that he had a “chit chat” with Patient 4 and tried to de-escalate him and divert him away from Olivia, which he did. He said he then explained to Patient 4 that he was going to shut his windows, and did so.

Asked by Mr Dryden what else happened when he was in Patient 4’s room, he told the court that as he came back from shutting the windows he noticed that one of Patient 4’s posters was “swinging on the wall”, he didn’t think that it had enough blue tack to hold it back to the wall. Mr Sanderson told the court that he removed it because Patient 4 “needed to have things aligned and I thought if it was out of alignment it would cause an incident”, so he took it down and put it on a cabinet.

Mr Dryden asked if Mr Sanderson had blue tack on him, he didn’t, and whether he was able to fix the poster, he wasn’t, and whether he retrieved the plug, which he did. Mr Sanderson told the court that it was on Patient 4’s cabinet, in one of his pots.

MrD: What happens after that?

JS: Patient 4 noted I’d taken the plug, obviously I was told not to tell him I was taking the plug because it would result in a violent incident

MrD: Go on

JS: So he charges at me leading to that confrontation in the doorway

MrD: You accept there was a confrontation between you and Patient 4 there?

JS: Yes

MrD: We see at one point Patient 4 throwing a blow at you, or aiming a blow at you

JS: Yes

MrD: Did that connect with you?

JS: Somewhere around this area, can’t quite recall

MrD: You appear to say to others present “Patient 4 punches like a woman?”

JS: Yes

MrD: you remember saying that?

JS: Yes

MrD: What was the purpose of that?

JS: There was no purpose… was highly inappropriate… was trying to save face due to past experiences of being injured

MrD: Do you think you should have said that?

JS: No

MrD: You make other comments to Patient 4 don’t you?

JS: I do

MrD: You’re heard to say on the footage for example “you get one shot and one shot with me only”. What did you mean by that?

JS: Meant nothing by it really…

Mr Sanderson told the court that management had told him to be as firm as he could with any violent patient, to stop him from being in another injury situation. Asked what was going through his mind when the footage showed him squaring up to Patient 4, Mr Sanderson told the court he was fearing another attack on him was imminent and that he’d end up in a restraint he was not supposed to be in, or that Patient 4 would attack him and cause him further injury.

Mr Dryden told Mr Sanderson that in the footage he could be seen telling Patient 4 “I’m not frightened of you” and asked if that was right. Mr Sanderson told the court that “was just a front” and that since he’d returned to Whorlton Hall following his second injury he’d been advised of “how many violent incident’s he’d [Patient 4] had in a short period of time” and he told the court he was in a situation where he wasn’t receiving and help from the other staff members in the clip.

MrD: When you leave the room you appear to switch a light off, what was happening there?

JS: It was wholly inappropriate, was no reason for it at all.

Mr Dryden then moved on to discuss with Mr Sanderson his dismissal from Whorlton Hall.

MrD: Shortly after that incident Mr Sanderson, on 25 February, you were dismissed from Whorlton Hall weren’t you?

JS: Yes

MrD: You were formally dismissed, again on agreed evidence on 21 March 2019

JS: Yes

MrD: What was the reason for your dismissal from Whorlton Hall?

JS: Basically somebody had reported me and used terms I hadn’t used, obviously with being injured I’d started a personal injury claim against Cygnet, Danshell, therefore they dismissed me through that because I’d started a personal injury claim off them.

HHJ: Was that something they said… when you say they dismissed you because you started a personal injury claim, you’d get a letter relating to dismissal?

JS: Yes

HHJ: Did that letter mention the personal injury claim?

JS: No, I don’t believe so

HHJ Smith checked that Mr Sanderson had not been told that he was being dismissed because he was bringing a claim against the company.

MrD: By March 2019 you’d instigated legal proceedings against the company hadn’t you?

JS: I did yes

MrD: That was in result to personal injury in relation to your two assaults?

JS: Yes

MrD: Those claims were submitted to the company on 12 February 2019?

JS: Yes that’s correct

MrD: You’d seen a solicitor about those incidents hadn’t you?

JS: Yes

MrD: Your intention was to make a claim against the company for the injuries you sustained?

JS: Yes

MrD: Those proceedings were instigated 12 February, and your dismissal was 21 March?

JS: Yes

MrD: I just wish to turn to the events that caused you to be dismissed, a fellow worker accused you of using inappropriate language didn’t she?

JS: That’s correct

MrD: You were on observations with a fellow worker and she said you’d made inappropriate comments regarding other service users?

JS: That’s correct

MrD: The words used, you were said to say, “you couldn’t wait to get the all clear so you could deck the cunts” ok? The suggestion was you couldn’t wait to have your cast removed so you could begin assaulting residents, that was the suggestion wasn’t it?

JS: Yes that was the suggestion

MrD: That allegation was made by a Support Worker on 6 March 2019?

JS: That’s correct.

Mr Dryden asked whether Mr Sanderson agreed he’d said the words he’d read out, he did not. Asked if he could tell the jury what he did say he said that he couldn’t recall word for word but that it was something to the effect that he was sick of being targeted, having only one arm, and he couldn’t wait to be fulfilling his full responsibilities and start to feel like one of the team again.

MrD: So, no bad language used?

JS: No

MrD: No reference to decking anyone used?

JS: No

MrD: But that complaint was made?

JS: Yes

MrD: I think having been formally dismissed on 21 March, you appealed that dismissal didn’t you?

JS: I did yes

MrD: Was there an appeals process?

JS: Yes

MrD: You attended an appeal hearing on 18 April?

JS: That’s right

MrD: But you weren’t able to overturn that dismissal?

JS: I wasn’t no

MrD: So, you lost your job?

JS: I did

Asked if he was aware that he would feature in a BBC Panorama programme, Mr Sanderson said that he couldn’t remember the date but someone from the BBC Production Team knocked on his door and told him he was going to feature. In response to questions from Mr Dryden, he told the court that he’d watched the programme, with his mother and his sister. Asked what he thought about the documentary, he responded “disgusted really” and asked what he thought of his own conduct and how he behaved, he told the court it was “wholly inappropriate in certain situations”.

First interviewed by the police on 6 June 2019, Mr Dryden told the court that Mr Sanderson had given an account of his behaviour on that occasion, which Mr Sanderson agreed. He had a second police interview on 5 March 2020, which Mr Sanderson told the court was at the same police station. He had a solicitor present and he again gave an account of his behaviour in those incidents. Mr Sanderson told the court that he was then told that the recording equipment had not worked and he was invited back for a third interview, which he attended on 23 July 2020. He told the court that he was advised not to give a further account as he’d already given an account in his second interview.

MrD: Do you accept you ill-treated Patient 4?

JS: No

MrD: Do you accept you ill-treated Patient 4 regarding his medication?

JS: No

MrD: Do you accept you tampered with his belongings?

JS: Certainly not

MrD: Do you accept you were behaving violently towards him?

JS: Certainly not

Mr Dryden had no further questions.

No questions from counsel for other defendants.

Court wasn’t sitting yesterday afternoon as a juror had a family commitment to attend. HHJ Smith thanked the jury, reminded them of the rules and directions they had to follow and they were sent out at 12:45. Mr Sanderson was also reminded that he was under oath and could not discuss his evidence with anyone, including his legal representatives.

20 April 2023

Ms Richardson started her cross examination by asking Mr Sanderson if he well understood the importance of what was in a patient’s careplan and acting upon it. He responded “not really, due to the fact that I was off work, I wasn’t up to date as such”. Ms Richardson asked Mr Sanderson three questions about careplans, that he know that they contained important information about patients, he did, that he made himself aware of the contents of careplans for different patients, he did, and that he was aware that different patients had different trigger points, he was.

Ms Richardson then asked Mr Sanderson if he was aware that mentioning medication to Patient 4 was one of his triggers.

JS: Wasn’t aware as such, was simply showed a careplan with a biro by my manager and what to expect, what not to expect

MsR: Yesterday you were asked whether you’d ever seen Patient 4 taking his medication without difficulty. Had you ever seen him taking it without difficulty?

JS: No

MsR: Was he someone you got on with?

JS: I’d say so, yes

MsR: Not someone you disliked?

JS: Definitely not

Asked by Ms Richardson whether he agreed it would be important not to tease Patient 4 about his medication, Mr Sanderson told the court that he was “simply following instructions”. Ms Richardson revisited Mr Sanderson’s evidence given to the jury yesterday.

MsR: Yesterday you indicated rubbing your hands together was just a gesture?

JS: That’s right

MsR: Olivia Davies says “are you going to say hello” and you say “watch this cunt”. Can you tell us what you mean by “watch this cunt”?

JS: I shouldn’t have said cunt, I apologise for that, was simply me saying watch him, he could kick off

MsR: Why did you laugh?

JS: Was a defence mechanism really, you laugh or cry, I shouldn’t have laughed

Asked by Ms Richardson if he agreed that it was not appropriate to call a person with mental health needs derogatory names, Mr Sanderson did. Asked if he enjoyed controlling these patients, Mr Sanderson told the court that he didn’t control any patients.

Ms Richardson moved onto another video clip, AJS/45 and said that she’d show two clips together and then ask Mr Sanderson about it. She ensured that he, and the jury, had the transcript references.

MsR: Can you help me with what you meant when in that first clip we played you touched your cheek like that, and said “go on son, I fucking dare you”. What did you mean by that?

JS: To be honest it was all made up. I was just showing off in front of Olivia.

MsR: How was it showing off in front of Olivia to touch your cheek and say “go on son”?

JS: Don’t really know, was all bravado, can’t say 4 years on what I was thinking, but I shouldn’t have done it

MsR: Why were you whispering in telling Olivia?

JS: So other service users don’t hear what I’m saying and to give them respect.

MsR: Was it because you were wrong and if someone senior heard you’d have been in serious trouble?

JS: I’m not too sure

MsR: Can you help me with this please, Patient 4 have you ever gone like this to your cheek to encourage him to fight you?

JS: No I haven’t

Ms Richardson played another clip, which she told the court was taken on 22 February 2019, about three weeks after the last clip the jury had been shown.

MsR: Can you help me with this please, is twatting the cunt part of any training or approved technique you have used for Patient 4?

JS: No

MsR: So why are you saying “I want to be on his obs me, as soon as he starts I’m going to twat the cunt”?

JS: Just stress… sounds worst… obviously wasn’t going to twat him, I wouldn’t dream of doing that to anybody…

Ms Richardson, quoting again from the footage, asked Mr Sanderson if he was going to “fucking deck him” and he said no.

Ms Richardson asked DC Simms to play the next clip and when it started there was no sound. HHJ Smith asked the jury to leave after a short while, so that more efforts could be made to fix the video projection system. That turned into a longer adjournment and the mid morning break. HHJ Smith apologised for the equipment when the jury returned.

Ms Richardson then told Mr Sanderson she was going to show him a clip that Mr Dryden had shown him the previous day.

MsR: Now just to understand your evidence yesterday Mr Sanderson, is it right you were not on observations that day with Patient 4?

JS: That’s correct

MsR: You were downstairs with a man called Patient 11 and were going to get a bath plug from upstairs?

JS: That’s correct

MsR: Had the plug been missing a while?

Mr Sanderson said that he couldn’t recall but from past incidents “people in the home new Patient 4 would take the bath plug and put it in his room”.

Ms Richardson directed Mr Sanderson to the transcript of the previous clip, three days before, where he’d said Patient 11 was in the bath.

MsR: Patient 11 is in the bath. Was he in the bath on 22 February?

JS: I think so

MsR: So the plug was certainly around 3 days before?

JS: Yes

MsR: At the beginning of that clip you are whispering something to James. What were you whispering?

JS: I can’t recall that

MsR: Why were you laughing when you came out the room?

JS: An emotional reaction

MsR: To what?

JS: Him in there shouting and swearing

MsR: He wasn’t shouting and swearing when you came out, we can watch. You then said something into James’ ear again, why?

JS: I can’t recall that

MsR: Your brief, you told the jury yesterday, was to collect the plug and close the windows because other patients were feeling the cold?

JS: Yes

MsR: Quick in and out really, you weren’t lingering, you’d done your tasks, got the plug, shut the windows and going back downstairs because your duty and care that day was with Patient 11, who was going to have a bath

JS: Yes

MsR: You knew didn’t you, when you came out the room, whatever you had or hadn’t done, Patient 4 was upset with you for touching his posters?

JS: No

MsR: Did you know why he was upset with you then?

JS: No idea

MsR: When a patient lashes out to a staff member what’s the appropriate action to take?

JS: The other two staff members should have restrained him, that’s the appropriate action to take

MsR: Was it appropriate to say “come on, you get one shot and one shot with me only”?

JS: I wouldn’t say it was appropriate no, it was an emotional response to being punched.

MsR: When a patient tells you to “fuck off” after you’ve called him bugalugs, do you think it was an appropriate response from a care worker to say “are you going to make me fuck off”?

Mr Sanderson told the court that he was under instruction to be firm to patients to ensure he wasn’t attacked again.

MsR: But you’re down the corridor, you’re not next to Patient 4 to be assaulted by him… you’re on your way back down. Why do you turn around and taunt him that way?

JS: I don’t know

MsR: Did you enjoy winding him up?

JS: I didn’t wind him up

Ms Richardson suggested to Mr Sanderson that he wasn’t in a pub environment and that he shouldn’t have squared up to him. Mr Sanderson told the court that he “wouldn’t say I squared up to him, I was being firm”. Asked by Ms Richardson if there was a difference between being firm and saying to someone, come on, let’s fight, Mr Sanderson told the court that he wasn’t told don’t say this or say that, he was told to be firm.

MsR: Were you told to egg him on for a fight when he was being difficult or aggressive towards you?

JS: No I wasn’t, and I wasn’t egging him on

MsR: You don’t need to be taught not to goad patients do you?

JS: No

MsR: You told the jury you were frightened of Patient 4. Did you think saying “are you going to make me” was appropriate thing to say to a man who you were frightened of?

JS: No [fuller answer, didn’t catch, apologies]

MsR: This was the same man who’d cuddled you earlier and said you were his best friend?

Mr Sanderson responded that it was but Patient 4 could fluctuate. Ms Richardson then asked Mr Sanderson about what he’d told Patient 4 while he was in his room.

MsR: You say “I’ve done nothing, all I’ve done is shut your windows man”

JS: Yes

MsR: Over the page you say “let’s dance” yes?

JS: Yeh

MsR: Ok. All you had done was to shut the windows was it?

JS: I shut the windows and retrieved the bathplug yes

MsR: But you did something more didn’t you?

JS: No

MsR: You told us yesterday you’d taken a poster and put it on a cabinet

JS: That’s correct

MsR: So why didn’t you explain to Patient 4 it was falling off, I put it on cabinet so it didn’t fall off?

JS: Not so easy with Patient 4, he’s already agitated because Olivia is there

MsR: Do you think was good way to de-escalate him to tell him he was lying, and all you’d done was shut the windows?

JS: I was told not to tell him about the bath plug

Ms Richardson said that she wasn’t talking about the plug, she was talking about the posters, and Mr Sanderson responded that Patient 4 was already agitated, and asked why he would have added to that escalation.

MsR: “Who is the big man bullying people”. You said that to Patient 4?

JS: Yes

MsR: Why? He wasn’t a big man was he?

Mr Sanderson said that he shouldn’t have said that.

MsR: “You get one shot and one shot with me only”. That was you goading him into fighting, wasn’t it?

JS: No I wasn’t

MsR: Standing there in a fighting stance with your hands …goading him?

JS: No I wasn’t

Ms Richardson asked Mr Sanderson if he felt he had to behave in a certain way at Whorlton Hall and he responded “not at all”. She asked again, checking whether he felt he needed to act in a certain way to fit in, and Mr Sanderson responded that maybe he had to with management because he’d “been cast out” over his injury claim, but that he didn’t feel that way with other staff.

Ms Richardson took him to his agreed police interview transcript and read an extract to the court. In it Mr Sanderson, responding to a police officer’s question, said that he’d [another person] never said anything like that in front of him, The officer then asked Mr Sanderson “what about yourself, what about your actions” and he’d responded “obviously watching the programme am remorseful.. I felt like I had no choice, you either fitted in or were cast out”.

MsR: What did you mean by saying you had no choice?

JS: Had no choice, I’d gone to management for support and things like that, they didn’t support me, had no choice but do what was told to do.

MsR: You weren’t told to eff and jeff to patients were you?

JS: No

MsR: You weren’t told to say “are you going to make me like”?

JS: No

MsR: What was it you were telling the officers, when you were remorseful about how you acted but had no choice either fitted in or cast out?

JS: I am remorseful for comments I made, shouldn’t have made comments at that time

HHJ Smith checked that Mr Sanderson understood the question being asked and asked him what it was he had to fit in with, and Mr Sanderson responded “just being firm” and he had to “fit in otherwise he would be cast out”. He then said that he couldn’t remember what he meant and that it had happened four years ago. Ms Richardson clarified that Mr Sanderson’s police interview took place in June 2019, and not four years after events.

MsR: Being firm isn’t the same as swearing at a patient is it?

JS: No

MsR: Being firm isn’t the same as saying to a patient are you going to make me?

JS: No one told me how firm to be. I just acted like that, I didn’t know how firm I should have been.

MsR: If what you’re saying is no one taught me I shouldn’t say those things, what were you remorseful then if all was ok? Do you think you resort to violence as a means to control these patients Mr Sanderson, or is it because you know you can get one over on them?

JS: No

MsR: I’m not saying you did resort to violence, but there you are goading him into it aren’t you?

JS: No

Ms Richardson then moved on to asking Mr Sanderson about his dismissal. Mr Sanderson agreed with her recollection that he’d told Mr Dryden he was suspended for an incident on 6 March 2019. Ms Richardson asked Mr Sanderson to help the court with what he said he’d said in the incident. He said that he couldn’t remember his words exactly but he thought it was roughly along the lines of he couldn’t wait to get his cast off so that he could be part of the team. HHJ Smith double checked he understood that Mr Sanderson had commented about getting his splint off and being able to fulfil his full responsibilities. Mr Sanderson agreed.

MsR: You know you were suspended because of something [withheld] had alleged against you?

JS: That’s correct

MsR: That you were going to hospital about your wrist cast and said “cant wait to get cast off and then I can deck the cunts”.

JS: Those aren’t the words I used

MsR: Those were the words alleged against you, and also a racist comment?

JS: I think so, I cant quite recall

MsR: You were suspended on 11 March and dismissed from the company later that month on the 21st?

JS: Yes I believe so

MsR: Would you agree the language you’re alleged to have used in front of [withheld], is remarkedly similar to that which the jury have heard you use in front of Olivia, less than two weeks earlier?

Mr Sanderson asked Ms Richardson to repeat her question, she does.

MsR: Would you agree the language you’re alleged to have used in front of [withheld], is remarkedly similar to that which the jury have heard you use in front of Olivia, less than two weeks earlier?

JS: Can’t really say

MsR: You can’t. Well the jury will make up their own minds about that. Would you say that was just pure bad luck or a remarkable coincidence?

JS: I can’t recall, not sure

MsR: I’ll suggest that’s because that was exactly what you did say


Ms Richardson then asked Mr Sanderson how Patient 1 made him feel and he said that he’d never spent much time with Patient 1, and that he only saw her twice in the whole time he worked there. Asked if he found her screaming to be piercing, he agreed.

MsR: Did you ever wish to make it stop? Or did you not have much to do with her?

JS: Never had much to do with her

Ms Richardson then played clip AJS/44 to the court, directing the jury and Mr Sanderson to the transcript.

MsR: Ok, what are you doing there? “How’s that little cunt upstairs, still screaming on?”

JS: Looking back now, was just venting, offloading stress

MsR: What were you stressed about?

JS: Ongoing stress with management, being chastised in the workplace, not fulfilling my duties

MsR: Your way of venting your stress is to say that you’re going to “try to you fat cunt, see what happens, I’ll drop kick you”. That’s your way of venting stress?

JS: Yes

MsR: That’s your attitude towards the patient isn’t it?

JS: No

MsR: Same way you had that attitude towards Patient 4

JS: No

Ms Richardson then asked a number of questions about patients’ relationships with their family members.

MsR: You knew having read patient careplans one of the few pleasures Patient 4 had in life was to speak to his sister on the phone?

JS: Yes

MsR: You knew they couldn’t see their families every day?

JS: No

MsR: They couldn’t go home at the end of the shift like you could?

JS: No

MsR: Would you agree connecting with families was something to look forward to?

JS: Yes

Ms Richardson then played another clip, directing the jury to the transcript.

MsR: Now that lady with the blue hair is Patient 7 isn’t it?

JS: Yes

MsR: A patient?

JS: Yes

MsR: Bearing in mind what you’re saying there is you’re effectively boasting about plugging and unplugging a phone whilst Patient 4 is on the phone to his sister, why were you saying that to Olivia?

JS: Just trying to show off, I didn’t unplug his phone

MsR: What made you think of all the things you could do to impress this attractive young woman, you’d say you plugged and unplugged a phone?

Mr Sanderson said that it was “news” that someone else on staff had done that, he hadn’t but he just said that he did.

MsR: Why were you saying that in front of Patient 7?

JS: I don’t know

MsR: What did you mean when Patient 7 said “you’re evil” and you replied “I can be, can be”

JS: Patient 7, if you don’t stand your ground she’ll know you’re week so I was putting bravado on.

MsR: So unplugging the phone was bravado in front of Olivia because you liked her, and bravado in front of Patient 7 because you were putting on a firm front?

JS: Yes

MsR: Is that your evidence Mr Sanderson?

JS: Yes

Ms Richardson then moved on to ask Mr Sanderson about another answer he gave in his police interview, asking him what he meant when he agreed with the police that what could be seen in the footage was psychological abuse.

MsR: What did you mean when you answered to the police when officer said “I say abuse you might just think its physical abuse, it’s not, it can include physical, emotional, psychological” and you say “I’ve done no physical abuse… that can be classed as psychological, so I won’t say no then, I’ll say yes”. So which did you think your actions were, that was psychological abuse?

JS: At the time of the interview I didn’t understand the in-depth of the charges, so I wasn’t going to deny anything

MsR: You had a solicitor present?

JS: Yes

MsR: And an observer as well?

JS: Yes

MsR: So what is your answer, you were just saying that as something to say?

JS: Didn’t know the in-depth of my allegations, was given a letter told this is what you’re being alleged of

MsR: Over the page, whilst employed at Whorlton Hall, have you ever mistreat any patient in any way? You say no.

Whilst employed at Whorlon Hall, have you ever been in any way responsible for the treatment of patient that could be described as cruel? And you answer not sure.

What was it you weren’t sure? What behaviour of yours could be described as cruel?

JS: Wasn’t sure what behaviours, I didn’t know what cruel meant, these days anything can be described as cruel

MsR: You didn’t know what cruel meant?

JS: No [fuller answer, didn’t catch, apologies]

MsR: You were being cruel, to Patient 4, deliberately cruel intended to wind him up?

JS: No, I wasn’t

MsR: That’s what you’re doing on the clips we see, yes?

JS: No

Ms Richardson then asked Mr Sanderson about the medication incident with Patient 4.

MsR: We saw yesterday, the medication incident, if I can put it that way

JS: Yes

MsR: Count 16. Did you enjoy watching Patient 4 getting teased about his medication?

JS: He wasn’t being teased

MsR: Did you enjoy watching Patient 4 getting more and more upset about his medication?

JS: He wasn’t getting upset

MsR: Was that why you were laughing?

JS: Like I explained yesterday, was a coping mechanism, yeh, shouldn’t have done it.

MsR: Did you have any thought to how he might have felt seeing you laughing?

JS: He couldn’t see me laughing, I had my back to him

MsR: Did you give any thought to how he might feel when you’re saying “all I’ve done is close the windows man” when in fact you had touched his posters?

JS: Of course

MsR: What were your thoughts?

JS: I didn’t want to tell him, would escalate, I’m in his bedroom with two staff outside, why would I want to risk getting injured again?

MsR: You’re just a bully aren’t you Mr Sanderson?

JS: Definitely not

There were no further questions from Ms Richardson and no re-examination from Mr Dryden. HHJ Smith had a couple of questions about Mr Sanderson turning the light on and off in Patient 4’s room.

HHJ: Yesterday you were asked about turning the light on?

JS: Yes

HHJ: You said yesterday to the ladies and gentlemen of the jury ‘that was looking back wholly inappropriate’.

JS: Yes. Seeing the reaction of the patient, I turned the light on because it was dark, when I left the room I turned it off because I realised was a low stimulus environment

HHJ: On this occasion, you’re not responsible for looking after Patient 4?

JS: No, no

HHJ: There were other carers responsible for him?

JS: Yes, that’s correct your honour

HHJ: You left the room, as you left it you thought the room was in darkness you’d put the light on?

JS: Yes

HHJ: When you said yesterday looking back was wholly inappropriate for you to do that, on one hand yesterday was saying was wholly inappropriate, and now you’re saying it’s a genuine mistake wasn’t well lit room?

JS: Meant looking back at his environment was wholly inappropriate at the time was low stimulus environment and I flipped the light on and I shouldn’t have

HHJ: You’re saying now you were trying to put the light on to help people, it looks wholly inappropriate, but you’re saying it looks it, you didn’t mean it was wholly inappropriate?

JS: My apologies your honour

HHJ: Yes. OK, if you return to your place please.

Shortly after midday Mr Dryden closed the case for Mr Sanderson.

The final defendant gave her evidence immediately afterwards, will report that shortly.

Write a reply or comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *