WALSALL Feb 2: A UK Malayalee care home nurse accused of manslaughter over the death of a 91-year-old woman has been cleared. Santhosh Rajan was found not guilty after the judge at Birmingham Crown ordered the jury to reach the verdict.
Santhosh had been accused of killing Iris Teale, who died 16 days after breaking her leg at Aston Court Nursing Home in Little Aston, in October 2011.
Santhosh, of Walsall, said: “I have maintained my innocence throughout the course of this lengthy investigation.”
The 39 year old said there were “no winners in this case” and expressed his “great sympathy for the terrible ordeal Mrs Teale’s family continue to suffer”.
The court had heard Mrs Teale’s care plan meant she should have only been moved by two people using a hoist. She sustained her leg fracture after the limb was subjected to a twisting motion on 8 October 2011, which “contributed to the death in a significant way”, the jury was told.
At the start of the trial, jurors were told Santhosh claimed Mrs Teale was already injured when he entered her room at about 22:10 GMT, and he did not know how she had sustained her fracture. She died in hospital on 24 October.
Bed-bound Iris Teale, 91, was taken to hospital after it was discovered she had suffered a fractured thigh bone at Aston Court Nursing Home in Little Aston, near Sutton Coldfield.
But, following the end of the prosecution case and legal submissions, judge Mr Justice Davis QC ruled there was insufficient evidence that Sathosh Rajan had caused the injury.
He directed a jury at Birmingham Crown Court to find the 39-year-old, of Bentley Lane, Walsall, not guilty of manslaughter.
The judge said: “The blunt truth is there is insufficient evidence to show Santhosh had sufficient contact with Mrs Teale prior to the injury.”
He said Marsha Tulloch, who had been on duty with Santhosh, had denied mishandling the pensioner but said there had been no opportunity for the defendant to harm her either.
“It is a mystery,” the judge said.
“The case has to be judged against a background in which, frankly, any number of people at the home mishandled residents, not because they were deliberately wicked or acted criminally.
“That is just the way it was, good, bad or indifferent.”
The court previously that Mrs Teale was “poorly in many respects” and had lived at the Bupa-owned home for six years before her death on October 24, 2011.
Robert Price, prosecuting, said she needed round-the-clock care and on October 8 it was discovered she had also suffered bleeding to her brain and a tear in her right shoulder muscles.
He said others had been responsible for mishandling her the previous day.
“I would like to thank my family who have been there for me throughout, the Royal College of Nursing for their ongoing support, my defence lawyers at Slater & Gordon and barristers John Butterfield QC and Harpreet Sandhu.”
Sue Swan, from his legal team at Slater & Gordon, said: “Santhosh was always been very clear about his innocence and would like to thank the judge for directing the jury to return a not guilty verdict.
“That the judge saw fit to take that course of action is testament to the fact the CPS should never have pursued this case in the first place.
“Everyone’s thoughts go out to Mrs Teale’s family whose suffering very sadly goes on.
“We hope that, in time, some clearer answers are discovered about the death of their loved one.” – Agencies