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Care worker said ‘f**k you, old bat’ as she taunted pensioner

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Valentina Baghiu laughed at Elizabeth Ann Mernock, 83, who begged the carer to leave her alone (Pictures: Liverpool Echo)

A carer threatened, taunted, tormented and even hit an 83-year-old resident with dementia, who then died weeks later. 

Footage showed Valentina Baghiu, 23, giggling while she poked and grabbed at Elizabeth Ann Mernock.

In one video, she can be seen waking the helpless woman up and then hitting her legs with a broom while hissing ‘f**k you, you old bat’ and ‘hell will become of you’. 

She laughed at Mrs Mernock as the pensioner pleaded ‘get off me’, ‘leave me alone’ and ‘stop it’. When Mrs Mernock tried to get out of the chair, Baghiu grabbed her wrist, pulled her back and said ‘look at me’. 

Baghiu was also seen poking her victim’s face and saying ‘you would think I’m playing with the cat’ and waving her fist in Mrs Mernock’s face threatening: ‘You are going to get it tonight, do you understand?’. 

The single mum made several cruel comments to Mrs Mernock in Romanian. These were translated into English for Liverpool Crown Court. 

One nasty remark was said to either mean ‘I’ll mess you up like nothing else’ or ‘I’ll give you a few slaps over the head’, the Liverpool Echo reported.

The abuse, at Birch Tree Manor care home, in Port Sunlight, Merseyside, took place on two unspecified dates between May and November in 2019.

Mrs Mernock died that same November from unrelated causes. 

Just a few weeks before she passed, Mrs Mernock told her daughter, Sarah Thomas, that people were ‘hitting, pushing and shouting at her’. 

But Mrs Thomas spoke to staff and decided it was ‘probably just in her mum’s head’ because she has dementia. 

‘Then to find out what had happened was true, makes it feel incredibly upsetting. It begs the question: “If I had believed her at the time, would she still be here today?”,’ the daughter said. 

Baghiu was filmed abusing Elizabeth Ann Mernock on two unspecified dates between May and November in 2019 (Picture: Liverpool Echo)
Baghiu told the court she financially supports her five-year-old son in Romania and is expecting her second child in October (Picture: Liverpool Echo)

Mrs Thomas told the court: ‘My mother had one-to-one care, which mistakenly made the family presume she was very safe, well looked after, and most importantly, happy.

‘Instead, now we must contend with the fact that her final weeks were full of misery, fear and trauma, which has inevitably led us to question whether it led to a deterioration of her condition and death.

‘It is a question I will have to live with for the rest of my life.’ 

The abuse was revealed by a fellow staff member who secretly filmed the attacks and sent them to Wirral Adult Social Care Services. 

Police then investigated and informed Mrs Thomas about the allegations which made her feel ‘sick to her stomach’. 

In January, Baghiu pleaded guilty to the ill-treatment or wilful neglect of an individual by a care worker.

Despite the guilty plea and videos, the judge spared Baghiu from jail after she told the court that she financially supports her five-year-old son in Romania and is expecting a second child in October. 

He made his decision even though the magistrates’ court, where she admitted the offence, had escalated the case to the crown court specifically so a higher prison sentence could be considered. 

Liverpool Crown Court handed Baghiu a six-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months, 75 hours of unpaid work and a 15-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement (Picture: PA)

Instead Baghiu, of Warren Road in Warrington, was handed a six-month sentence suspended for 18 months. She will have to work for 75 hours unpaid and was given a 15-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement.

After the sentencing, Mrs Thomas and her brother were reportedly visibly upset but did not want to comment. 

Prosecutor Alan Currums said:  ‘The victim’s family had planned their mother’s funeral but were then told it had to be delayed because of what had emerged about Baghiu.

‘They couldn’t talk to anyone about this as a criminal investigation was underway.

‘They had thought their mother was safe but she had become the victim of a heartless and callous bully.

‘Most carers, including the staff at this home, care for the residents compassionately and competently, despite the challenges presented by patients with dementia.

‘The good work of the vast majority of carers should not be forgotten when the actions of people like Valentina Baghiu come to light. They are the bad apples in an area of care that is often the scene of great kindness and professionalism.’ 

Birch Tree Manor Care Home said: ‘We are saddened and disappointed that these incidents occurred in our home and worked with the relevant authorities throughout to bring this prosecution.

‘The health and wellbeing of our residents is our number one priority and this episode is not a reflection on our outstanding and dedicated staff.

‘We dispute Ms Baghiu’s allegations regarding her working patterns and training and do everything we can to ensure that our staff maintain the highest possible standards.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected] 

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