Abuse of care victim backs new guidelines

Alan Howarth with his mother, Elizabeth Howarth, 99, from Tyldesley, who was the victim of theft
Alan Howarth with his mother, Elizabeth Howarth, 99, from Tyldesley, who was the victim of theft

A MAN has backed new guidelines for families thinking of setting up hidden cameras to check up on the care of their loved ones after his elderly mum was victim of theft.

Alan Howarth welcomed advice from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which is publishing instructions for the first time following several big incidents where recorded devices have been used to catch maltreatment.

Mr Howarth’s mum Elizabeth was unfortunately one of these cases.

The 99-year-old’s son became suspicious when large sums of money kept disappearing from her Tyldesley home.

Police helped Mr Howarth install a CCTV camera into rooms to help find out where the money was going.

And footage showed cleaner Ivy Peachy, 63, rifling through her employer’s belongings, then hiding the stolen money in her apron pocket.

She was later jailed for one month after being convicted of stealing £160.

Now Mr Howarth is encouraging others to do the same if they suspect uncaring or criminal treatment.

The 68-year-old said: “I would have no qualms about doing it again if needed. It’s not a nice thing to do but then again, mistreatment of an elderly person isn’t a nice thing to be put through. Without the aid of CCTV my mother’s thief would never have been caught.

“If you don’t have the hard evidence then it’s just hearsay and police will be unable to take any action.

“My mum was absolutely devastated when she found out as she regarded Ivy as a close personal friend.

“She’s okay now, she’s a tough old bird, but it has taken its toll on her. At first she wouldn’t believe it was Ivy. Even I couldn’t believe it. My mum finds it hard to trust now and won’t be employing anybody else to help with her cleaning. The family does it now.”

Peachey’s cruel deception unravelled last year when Alan planted £200 in a box at his mother’s Tyldesley home.

It stayed put for more than a week until Peachey arrived for the fortnightly clean, just as she had done for the last nine years. In examining the footage Mr Howarth saw Peachy take £140 out of the box.

The CQC’s new 12-page document states: “Recording equipment can be used to monitor a place, a person, a group or an activity to gather information. This can be done openly, or it can be done in secret, in which case the people being monitored are unlikely to know that they are being recorded.”

The CQC’s chief inspector of adult social care, Andrea Sutcliffe said: “We all want people using health and social care services to receive safe, effective, high quality and compassionate care.”