Convicted carer locks disabled man in back of van so he can go to the toilet
Monday, 6 August 2012
A disabled man was left trapped and helpless in the back of a locked van by his carer and had to be rescued by two passing policemen.
William Yates’s shocked family later learned that cruel John Hart had landed the job despite two convictions for assault.
Hart, 29, pushed terrified William into the footwell of the van, then pulled the front passenger seat over his head.
It meant 58-year-old William was unable to escape or open the vehicle from inside.
Hart then locked the van after parking in Strathclyde Park and walked off.
Last week at a court hearing, Hart narrowly avoided a prison term but was ordered to pay William compensation.
The two officers who found William were working undercover at the time targeting drug dealers and became suspicious about the van.
When they looked inside, they wereastonished to find a terrified William trapped under the passenger seat.
As they were about to break in, Hart,from Airdrie, returned and unlocked the van to free William.
The police arrested Hart and reported him to his employers, the charity Enable, who fired him.
Last week, Hart admitted a charge of ill-treating or neglecting a patient in his care by trapping him under a seat in the van, locking him in the vehicle and leaving him unattended on June 1 last year.
Wheelchair user William relied onround-the-clock support from Enable staff at his home in Airdrie.
Hart, who had worked with him as a carer for three years, told Hamilton Sheriff Court that he had taken William out in his mobility van and had stopped to go to the toilet. He claimed William became anxiousand distressed when left alone so he hid him out of view in the vehicle for his own good.
Sheriff Carole Cunninghame told Hart that the offence merited a jail sentence but instead gave him 200 hours of community service and ordered him to pay £500 compensation to William at £20 a week.
She also asked that a letter be sent to Scottish ministers expressing herconcern Hart might be re-employed as a carer in the future.
A separate charge accusing him of giving William an excessive amount of medication was dropped. In February 2005, Hart was fined £500 at Airdrie Sheriff Court for assault with a chain and ordered to pay £500 compensation.
In November 2006, he was fined £250 at the same court for assault and breach of the peace.
A spokeswoman for Enable said: “We can confirm that a former employee of Enable Scotland has been sentenced.
“The police alerted us about an incident and this employee was dismissed with immediate effect.
“All support workers employed by Enable Scotland go through Disclosure Scotland’s Protecting Vulnerable Groups scheme.
“This was introduced in 2011. Prior to the introduction of PVG, all support workers went through full enhanced disclosure.”