Care worker imprisoned after autistic man in her care drowns
Nikki Deaney, a former care worker at Springwood Day Centre, has been sentenced to four months in prison after the death of 29-year-old Majid Akhtar, an autistic man who drowned in King’s Mill Reservoir, near Mansfield, on 10 September 2012 while on an activity trip.
A previous inquest had heard how Ms Deaney was “distracted” while using her mobile phone rather than watching Mr Akhtar, who had the mental age of a four-year-old. Ms Deaney spent more than 19 minutes on the phone calling and texting contacts over 34 minutes while supervising Mr Akhtar around the lake.
Mr Akhtar was on an activity trip from Springwood Day Centre, Mapperley, when he went for a walk around the reservoir at after a lunch break – instead of going back out on a boat with the rest of the group, the Nottingham Post reported.
Ms Deaney admitted failing to take reasonable care for the health and safety of other persons, including Mr Akhtar, who may have been affected by “her acts or omissions at work”. These included failing to fulfil her duty of care for Mr Akhtar when employed as a care assistant, allowing Mr Akhtar to approach the water at King’s Mill Reservoir unescorted and unsupervised, and failing to provide Mr Akhtar with one-to-one care.
A joint investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Nottinghamshire Police found that Ms Deaney spent a significant amount of time on her mobile phone instead of giving her full attention to Majid while walking with him around the reservoir.
Nikki Deaney of Sneinton Dale, Nottingham pleaded guilty to breaching section 7(a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been sentenced to four months imprisonment.
Speaking after the case HSE inspector Stuart Pilkington said: “This is a tragic case which was entirely preventable. It highlights the importance of maintaining focus when caring for vulnerable persons.”
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