Disgraced care boss’s jail term is cut - because she is claustrophobic

A disgraced care home boss who was locked away for mistreating elderly residents has had her jail time slashed - after complaining she is claustrophobic.

Wednesday, 16th December 2015, 10:56 am
JAILED: Indranee Pumbien

Indranee Pumbien, 59, force-fed two dementia patients and tried to cover up the fact one had been scalded in a bath at Briarwood Care Home in Lostock Hall.

The qualified nurse was convicted at Preston Crown Court of three counts of ill-treatment, and jailed for 18 months in August.

She appealed yesterday and, at a hearing in London, had her prison sentence slashed to a year after it was dubbed “excessive”.

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Her lawyers had argued that the effect on her financially and career-wise, as well as her depression and claustrophobia, justified a shorter term.

Giving judgment, Mrs Justice Simler said: “Serious as this offending was, we have come to the conclusion that there is force in the grounds of appeal.

“She is 59 years old. She has poor mental health and her personal circumstances are difficult.

“We have concluded that 18 months in total was disproportionate to the offending in the whole.”

The Court of Appeal heard Pumbien, of Grosvenor Place, Ashton, Preston, was convicted of two counts of ill treatment by force feeding and another by failing to seek medical assistance for a resident.

On two occasions, she was seen to force-feed residents, in one incident pushing a metal spoon into a 99-year-old woman’s mouth.

The elderly lady was the victim of another offence when Pumbien embarked on a bid to cover up a scalding accident.

The woman had burned her legs, but Pumbien did not arrange for medical help until the following day.

She was jailed along with husband Meghadeven Pumbien, 62, who was given a nine-month sentence for neglect and employee Niphawan Berry, of Christ Church Street, who was jailed for five months for neglect.

Indranee Pumbien’s barrister, Alistair Webster QC, argued that the effect of losing her career, her care home and her income was devastating.

He continued: “Given she suffers from recurrent depression and is claustrophobic, it was not necessary for the sentence to be as long as it was.”

Mrs Justice Simler, sitting with Sir Brian Leveson and Mr Justice Openshaw, allowed the appeal and cut her sentence to 12 months.

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