THE family of an elderly lady who believe she was the victim of abuse at a Barnsley care home say they want ‘justice’ after carers alleged to have taken part walked free - despite man who shared the images online being jailed this week.
In June last year, images were circulated online that appeared to show abuse sustained by residents at Cherry Trees Care Home, Lundwood.
After an investigation, seven carers from the home were arrested but charges were dropped on each due to a lack of evidence.
However, the man who posted the images online - 27-year-old Jamie Phillips of Newington Avenue, Royston - was jailed after appearing at Sheffield Crown Court on Monday.
Phillips became aware of the existence of a group chat after an argument with his girlfriend, and carer at the home, Hayley Newton, the court was told.
After the disagreement, Phillips gained access to Newton’s phone and posted the images online, before changing her passwords.
Both Newton and her mother, fellow carer Diane Thelwell, were fired from their positions at the home for their alleged role in the incident after he contacted the home’s manager.
Phillips was given a 19-month sentence after he admitted one charge of causing a computer to perform a function with intent to secure unauthorised access to a programme or data, and a separate offence of burglary.
The family of Shirley Duffy, a former resident at the home and an alleged victim of the abuse, have spoken out against the sentencing and demanded justice for their grandmother.
“I can’t believe the people who hurt my nannan have walked free, yet the man who tried to put a stop to it is in prison,” said Shirley’s granddaughter, Leanne Lunn.
“We have said time and time again that there was no way she would have been able to get herself in that position, and that someone obviously put her upside down in the chair - what has happened now feels like a kick in the teeth.
“Our nannan spent her last months in fear of those carers, and now they can get jobs in other care homes where other vulnerable people could be next.
“I don’t want other families to have to go through what we have before justice is done.
“I don’t understand how Jamie Phillips has been prosecuted for spreading the images, yet the carers who made the images haven’t - it doesn’t make sense.
“My family is deeply hurt by what happened to our nannan, she was a friendly and larger-than-life character who had time for everyone and we want to make sure that no other families have to go through what we have.”