Oct 4 2012 By Jack Griffith
A SENIOR carer convicted for giving elderly dementia sufferers unprescribed medication to send them to sleep has been jailed for three years.
Mirela Aionoaei, 37, spiked six patients at the Ashwood Care Centre, in Derwent Drive, Hayes, with anti-depressants, anti-psychotic drugs and sedatives during night shifts between July and December 2010.
Jurors heard during the trial that the doses resulted in the victims becoming instantly sleepy, and they would have to be taken to bed in a wheelchair at times when it was common for them to be awake and walking around the centre.
Aionoaei, of Pikestone Close, Hayes, denied six charges of administering a poison or noxious substance, but was found guilty after a trial in August.
Relatives of two of the victims were at Harrow Crown Court today (Thursday) to see the care worker jailed for three years for each of the charges. The terms will run concurrently.
Sentencing her, Judge Alan Greenwood said: "You were in a position of trust, and you abused that trust. You were a carer for these people suffering from dementia, who were unable to think for themselves or appreciate what was happening around them."
A colleague grew suspicious and reported Aionoaei, a Romanian national who had worked at the home since 2004, after observing that the residents became extremely drowsy only when she came on night duty, and witnessing her give a patient pills from a private stash in her pocket.
Hair samples were taken from nine residents at the home, one of them posthumously, and six were found to have unprescribed drugs in their system, namely haloperidol, an anti-psychotic drug with drowsiness as a side-effect, anti-depressant citalopram, and sleep-inducing drug zopiclone.
Detective Inspector Graham Hamilton, of Hillingdon's Safeguarding Adults at Risk unit, said: "This conviction is important because the victims in this case, vulnerable people who often go unheard, have had some justice in court.
"The victims couldn't give evidence because they are suffering from dementia. Aionoaei betrayed their trust, the trust placed in her by their relatives, and the care home."