South Croydon care home let dementia sufferer wander streets alone at night, Croydon Crown Court hears

This Is Local London: Langley Oaks care home was opened by Croydon Council in 2010 Langley Oaks care home was opened by Croydon Council in 2010

An elderly dementia sufferer wandered the streets alone at night for 12 hours while care home staff neglected to look to her then tried to cover her disappearance up, a jury heard today.

Maureen Lawrence, then 76, walked out of Langley Oaks care home in Selsdon at 6.15pm on April 18 last year and was not found until 6.30am the next day.

Prosecutors allege three employees - Roland Allotey-Babington, Martin Eyitato and Jean Baba - failed in their duty of care and falsified records to claim Mrs Lawrence was safely in the Langley Oaks Avenue home.

Mrs Lawrence, who should have been checked by staff every 30 minutes, is thought to have fallen while missing after being found with grazes.

She was treated by paramedics but suffered no serious injuries.

Prosecutor Glenn Carrasco told the jury Mrs Lawrence was "prone to wandering" and required closer supervision than many of the home's residents.

He said: "During the evening of the 18th, unknown to staff, Mrs Lawrence wandered outside and remained there for nearly 12 hours, cold and alone overnight.

"The prosecution say that each of these three defendants had a duty of care to Mrs Lawrence and were wilfully neglectful of that duty.

Mr Baba, 38, of Hastings Road, Addiscombe, was the carer in charge of Mrs Lawrence during the day, while Mr Allotey-Babington, 42, of Walworth, took over at 8pm.

Mr Eyitato, 37, of Islington, was the team leader who Mr Allotey-Babington reported to.

All three deny a charge wilfully neglecting a person lacking mental capacity.

The court heard Mr Baba wrote on the home's daily records that Mrs Lawrence had been "walking up and down" inside when checked at 7pm and 8pm, when CCTV showed she was outside.

The home's resident location log was also falsified to indicate she was indoors when half-hourly checks were made between 6.30pm and 8pm.

This Is Local London:

Roland Allotey-Babington

Mr Carrasco also told the jury Mr Allotey-Babington failed to complete the log at all during his night shift.

The court heard that despite writing on the daily record that Mrs Lawrence was "not around", Mr Allotey-Babington did not launch a search for her or inform Mr Eyitato she was missing. 

Jacqueline Johnson, then the care home's manager, told the court that all staff would have been informed if residents were supposed to be away from the home and that "not around" should never be written in regards to their whereabouts.

She said: "You would be told exactly where they are are, so that someone has put 'not around' concerns me."

Mr Carrasco said Mr Eyitato, as team leader, should have checked logs had been been completed properly and covered Mr Allotey-Babington's duties during breaks.

The prosecutor added: "Had he done any of these duties thoroughly and properly, it would have become apparent to him that Mrs Lawrence was missing."

He finally raised the alarm at 5.50am.

Langley Oaks opened in 2010 as part of Croydon Council’s £38m Homes for the Future programme, designed to improve care for vulnerable elderly people by replacing inadequate buildings.

Michael Hillman, defence barrister for Mr Allotey-Babington, argued deficiencies in management and staff training at the home were to blame for the mistakes.

He said: "I'm going to put it to you that the state of supervision, management and training was really a bit of a shambles."

The trial continues.

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