A CARE home worker has narrowly avoided jail for what a judge branded a “disgraceful” assault on an 84-year-old dementia sufferer.

Pauline Molineaux was given a three-month suspended prison sentence with supervision and 300 hours of unpaid community work.

The 54-year-old roughly treated the resident at The Lodge in Heslington, near York, last December, Teesside Crown Court was told today (Friday, November 30).

Prosecutor John Gillette said the pensioner was left distressed after being taken back to her room against her will and “forcefully” undressed.

She screamed out for her deceased mother, punched the wall and tried to bite Molineaux, the judge, Recorder William Lowe, QC, heard.

Matthew Gent, mitigating, said the resident was often difficult, but Molineuax should have “backed off and let the situation cool down”.

He told the judge that his client had worked for 20 years in the care industry, often for little reward, and added: “It was her vacation . . . her life.”

Molineaux, of The Village, Haxby, near York, admitted a charge of common assault after accepting at some point the resident's hair was pulled.

Mr Recorder Lowe said he had been considering an immediate prison sentence, but said the public would be better served by community work.