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October 22, 2021

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In court

Nursing home owner pleads guilty to corporate manslaughter 

Aster Healthcare has pleaded guilty after a dementia patient in its care died after being placed in a scalding bath. 

Frances Norris, 93, died three days after the incident at the Birdsgrove Nursing Home in Bracknell, in 2015. 

Aster Healthcare, which owns the home, later provided falsified water temperature records to the Care Quality Commission and the HSE. The company also provided a false record of the thermostatic mixing valves service history.

It is being sentenced alongside Elisabeth West, 46, the care home’s manager at the time, and carer Noel Maida, 50, who both pleaded guilty to failing to discharge a duty. 

Mitigating for Aster Healthcare, Jamas Hodivala QC told the court that, although the company had a history of failings, its Director Sheth Jeebun had always acted quickly when a problem was raised.

However, former Home Manager West, said in a statement that a maintenance worker was made out to be a “troublemaker” for raising issues about a boiler, before later being made redundant. 

Tanya Robinson, mitigating for West, said: “[The maintenance worker] said Mr Jeebun was known for not wanting to spend his money. 

“When he said the boilers at the home needed to be serviced, an unqualified engineer issued gas certificates within 45 minutes. Another engineer later condemned them.” 

The court heard Aster Healthcare had since made training, policy and risk assessment changes following Ms Norris’s death.

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