Convicted killer Alison Richardson avoids jail despite abusing patients while working as care assistant at The Priory hospital in Middleton St George, near Darlington

Darlington and Stockton Times: Killer Alison Richardson Killer Alison Richardson

A 'REMORSELESS' convicted killer who abused vulnerable patients after she was employed as a health care assistant has avoided jail.

Alison Richardson – jailed for manslaughter after stabbing her boyfriend to death in 1993 – was yesterday (Thursday, February 27) handed a suspended sentence after being caught on CCTV abusing a patient at The Priory hospital in Middleton St George, near Darlington.

The 46-year-old, who fully disclosed her conviction to her employers, jammed a bin onto a female patient’s head following a “tussle” and later put her hands around the same patient's throat in a “throttling position”, shaking her and poking her in the ribs.

Other patients and members of staff were present during both assaults.

Detective Constable Fiona Laws said: “She denied everything in formal interviews, never showed any remorse and never admitted any wrong-doing.

“She was in a position of trust at the hospital, working alongside other members of staff caring for vulnerable patients.

“The assaults represented a loss of control and abuse of that trust.”

Graham Hunsley, mitigating, described Richardson’s actions as horseplay gone too far, saying they reflected a lack of training at the private hospital.

He asked District Judge Andrew Meachin to show leniency on the basis that the assaults were without malice.

Judge Meachin, sentencing Richardson at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court, repeatedly expressed astonishment that somebody with Richardson’s background was allowed to work with vulnerable people and questioned whether the hospital had been investigated as a result.

Describing the situation as "disturbing", he said: “This young lady has a certain conviction and has ended up in a position of carer, working one to one with a group of teenagers with certain difficulties.

“She went too far and was given certain leeway in doing so. The incidents were a serious breach of trust and she was in a position she shouldn’t have been in.”

Richardson, who now lives in Hull, previously admitted two counts of assault by beating. Five other charges were dropped.

Sentencing her to four months imprisonment for each offence, suspended for 12-months, the judge said: ”You came to believe you could act in a certain way with these people.

“The term play fighting has been used and that is unbelievable, you went far too far and there was an element of humiliation.”

Following the events, the hospital was warned by the Care Quality Commission for putting patients at “significant risk” by failing to conduct risk assessments relating to the suitability of employees to work with vulnerable people.

A spokeswoman from The Priory said the decision to employ Richardson was taken by previous owners Affinity Healthcare and said action had been taken following the events, which took place in 2012.

She said: “Individuals working at the hospital at the time did not follow company policies and procedures.

"This has been dealt with, and under the new senior management at the hospital a robust review has been undertaken.”

Comments (6)

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8:44am Fri 28 Feb 14

Homshaw1 says...

The hospital has a lot to answer for. The family of the victim should sue. It's the only language they understand.

As for the sentence it defies belief.
The hospital has a lot to answer for. The family of the victim should sue. It's the only language they understand. As for the sentence it defies belief. Homshaw1
  • Score: 18

11:15am Fri 28 Feb 14

Copley23 says...

Affinity Healthcare are known amongst health and social care folks to be the absolute worst. With their reputation locally, this doesn't surprise me one bit.

Yes - the family should sue the pants off them.
Affinity Healthcare are known amongst health and social care folks to be the absolute worst. With their reputation locally, this doesn't surprise me one bit. Yes - the family should sue the pants off them. Copley23
  • Score: 6

11:29am Fri 28 Feb 14

think twice says...

Makes you wonder about the "qualifications" of the rest of the staff.
Makes you wonder about the "qualifications" of the rest of the staff. think twice
  • Score: 5

4:11pm Fri 28 Feb 14

drainman says...

think twice wrote:
Makes you wonder about the "qualifications
" of the rest of the staff.
Affinity Healthcare..........
.....a convicted killer as a carer. What a sh*t company.
[quote][p][bold]think twice[/bold] wrote: Makes you wonder about the "qualifications " of the rest of the staff.[/p][/quote]Affinity Healthcare.......... .....a convicted killer as a carer. What a sh*t company. drainman
  • Score: 6

4:49pm Fri 28 Feb 14

Spy Boy says...

It would seem that no matter how many examples of this sort of issue with staff hit the headlines, these companies keep hiring them on. Then someone dies and there is a huge investigation and the rules have to be tightened again. The rules appear to be OK, it's the fact that people refuse to follow them that is the issue. How many times do you hear that 'The company is putting tighter controls in place to avoid a future incident.'

I think that the root cause in most of the problems we face today is money, greed on the behalf of the people who own these places and sheer incompetence due to the rise of the executive. Those ineffectual and supercilious people that have absolutely no talent at all outside of finding ways of raising their own inflated salaries. They seem to inhabit some world outside of our own and have only a passing knowledge of what is actually happening in the real world. I would suggest that companies remove anyone with the word 'Executive' in their title. They could save a lot of money.
It would seem that no matter how many examples of this sort of issue with staff hit the headlines, these companies keep hiring them on. Then someone dies and there is a huge investigation and the rules have to be tightened again. The rules appear to be OK, it's the fact that people refuse to follow them that is the issue. How many times do you hear that 'The company is putting tighter controls in place to avoid a future incident.' I think that the root cause in most of the problems we face today is money, greed on the behalf of the people who own these places and sheer incompetence due to the rise of the executive. Those ineffectual and supercilious people that have absolutely no talent at all outside of finding ways of raising their own inflated salaries. They seem to inhabit some world outside of our own and have only a passing knowledge of what is actually happening in the real world. I would suggest that companies remove anyone with the word 'Executive' in their title. They could save a lot of money. Spy Boy
  • Score: 4

7:27pm Fri 28 Feb 14

NO EINSTEIN says...

Just read this headline twice, Is tomorrow April the first or March the first ?????? it must be April first, isn't it !!!
Just read this headline twice, Is tomorrow April the first or March the first ?????? it must be April first, isn't it !!! NO EINSTEIN
  • Score: 1

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