A COUPLE who worked as carers have been jailed today after they were caught on camera throwing an elderly woman around "like a sack of potatoes".
Viorel Constantin, 28, was filmed poking at the 88-year-old victim's nose and pulling her head from one side to another after being employed to care for her.
His wife Cristina-Alexandra Constantin, 26, was seen watching on as he ill-treated the vulnerable woman and failing to use a hoist to move her.
Today, the couple, from Cambridge, were sentenced to six months in prison and ordered to pay a total of £865 in fines.
Cambridge Magistrates heard how they were caught after the victim's son set up a camera in his mother's home after he had concerns they weren't washing her properly.
Concerns were immediately raised with Midas Care, the company who provided the care for his mother, who then contacted Cambridgeshire police.
In a statement, the victim's son, who didn't want to be identified, said: "I saw footage of supposed carers pulling and pushing her nose, having a laugh at her expense, saying things to her which she hears but can't respond to, 'throwing' her from one side of the bed to the other as if, as another carer put it, she were a sack of potatoes.
"In this couple's report of what happened on their tea time call, they said that this 'touching' of the nose was innocent and to get a reaction because "the customer doesn't talk, doesn't do anything".
"Well, so what if she doesn't talk or do anything! She is alive and she can still hear, understand and has thoughts and emotions.
"I am thankful that I am here and could defend my defenceless mum against them.
"Anyone working in a caring profession should care for others in the same way they would for their own loved one, or 'do to others as you would have them do to you'.
The Constantins pleaded guilty to wilfully neglecting a person without capacity. at Peterborough Magistrates' Court on November 1.
Speaking after sentencing, the victim's son said: "My mum is the most important person in my life.
"If I didn't care about her, I would have moved on in my life a long time ago and, maybe, she would now have been in a home.
"I wish no ill towards this couple, but it's good that this has now been recorded and they will no longer be able to work in the care industry.
"We don't know how many other people they have done something similar to. I am thankful that I am here and could defend my defenceless mum against them.
"I hope that other carers, or would-be carers will hear about this case, and understand, as most carers do, that this is a caring profession; that they are there to help people who need a little more help than most, that you must treat them right and, if you can't do that, then choose another line of work or know that there are punishments for abuse."
Detective Sergeant Mark Little, from the Adult Abuse Investigation and Safeguarding Unit (AAISU), said: "Understandably the victim's son was shocked and angry by what he saw.
"His mother does not have the capacity to look after herself and requires professional care.
"There is an expectation that your loved one will be properly looked after and cared for when putting their care in the hands of professionals, and sadly the Constantins fell below these expectations and let themselves and their contractors down."