A FORMER soldier who was filmed attacking a mentallyill man in his care was jailed yesterday.

People living next to Newbus Grange, an autism specific independent hospital in Neasham, near Darlington, watched Wayne Antony Parker striking his 22-year-old victim about the face and head while they exercised on a trampoline.

One neighbour was so appalled that he filmed the attack on a camcorder and gave the video to police.

Parker was jailed for eight months at Teesside Crown Court yesterday after pleading guilty to ill-treatment or wilful neglect of a person who lacks mental capacity.

Judge Tony Briggs heard that the 37-year-old carer, of Harcourt Street, Darlington, let out a “nasty laugh” as he hit the man.

The pair were jumping up and down on a trampoline in the garden of the residential home on the morning of August 2 last year, when a neighbour heard a loud scream.

Jenny Haigh, prosecuting, said: “The defendant pushed the man with great force with both hands and he fell into the safety net of the trampoline.

He was screaming and clearly distressed. As he got back to his feet, the defendant hit the man in the face with his right hand. The man was screaming and tried to run away.”

Psychiatric reports provided to the court described the victim as a very disabled man who required constant supervision, day and night, and had trouble communicating.

Martin Towers, mitigating, said that Parker had served in the Army for nine years during the Nineties and completed two tours of Bosnia before leaving for personal reasons.

He had been a care worker for seven years.

He said: “This incident was a dreadful loss of control and an error of judgement for which he will suffer for the rest of his life.”

Newbus Grange is a private hospital run by Castlebeck.

Manager Sue Stow said last night: “There was an allegation made last year, which was referred immediately to the safeguarding team in Darlington.

It has been in the hands of the police and the Crown Prosecution Service since.

“Mr Parker was suspended.

At this moment, no final decision has been made, but it is highly unlikely he would return.”

■ The Northern Echo has decided not to identify the victim.