Care home ‘not a prison camp’, jury told

ON TRIAL: The Pumbiens outside Preston Crown Court
ON TRIAL: The Pumbiens outside Preston Crown Court
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The description of a former care home as a “prison camp” is at odds with the Care Quality Commission report that praised it, a court heard.

The defence lawyer of former owner Indranee Pumbien, 59, of Grosvenor Place, Ashton, Preston, addressed the jury in the trial of three people connected to the Briarwood Rest Home in Lostock Hall as their defence made closing speeches.

Barrister Mr Webster said the young married couple had come to England from Mauritius with “no more than a suitcase”.

Her husband was a qualified nurse and she became qualified as a mental health nurse and spent “her whole adult life caring for others”, he said, making a significant contribution to the country she called home.

He added: “There was not a whisper of criticism of her performance.

“And so this hard working couple no doubt scrimping and saving, built up enough to buy this rest home.”

He said evidence from defence witnesses made it clear the home was invested in and well kept and said the perception by the prosecution this home was treated like a ‘cash cow’ was “thoroughly unfair”.

Mrs Pumbien and husband Meghadeven Pumbien, 64, deny neglect in respect of Mrs Wheatley’s injuries and perverting the course of justice.

Mrs Pumbien denies 13 counts of ill treatment and Meghadeven denies neglecting to provide adequate lifting equipment and training.

Niphawan Berry, 42, of Christchurch Street, Broadgate, Preston, denies causing grievous bodily harm, a charge of ill treatment and a charge of neglect.

Judge Pamela Badley allowed Berry to leave the dock after she suffered a cough. (proceeding)