Pensioner left looking like ‘prisoner of war camp’ inmate, inquest hears


An elderly nursing home resident was so neglected by staff that he was left looking like an inmate in a prisoner of war camp, his daughter told an inquest.

Stanley Bradford, 76, died just three months after moving to the Brithdir Nursing Home, New Tredegar, South Wales in 2005.

The former miner had lived at a residential home for three years but moved because of his declining health.

Former miner Stanley Bradford, 76, was a father of five (Family handout/PA).
Former miner Stanley Bradford, 76, was a father of five (Family handout/PA).

He had previously suffered a stroke and had also been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, diabetes and schizophrenia.

An inquest in Newport, Gwent, is hearing evidence into the deaths of seven residents of the care home between 2003 and 2005, some of whom suffered from dehydration, malnourishment, and pressure sores.

The father of five moved to Brithdir in June 2005 and died on September 29 that year, Assistant Coroner Geraint Williams was told.

Mr Bradford's youngest daughter, Gaynor Evans, told the hearing he deteriorated rapidly during the short time he lived there.

"Dad was very quiet and withdrawn there. He didn't look happy at all. We would go in and we wouldn't see anybody at all," she said.

"Very rarely I saw anybody come in and feed him.

"A number of occasions I would ask if he had food and they said yes.

"He deteriorated over the weeks he was there because a lot of the time I used to come home and cry and I would say, 'Who can I tell, the weight was falling off him, I think he is starving to death'.

"They never provided him with a drink or food, or checked him or moved him or changed his incontinence pads."

Mr Bradford's death and that of several other residents at the Brithdir Nursing Home is the subject of an inquest in Gwent (Family handout/PA).
Mr Bradford's death and that of several other residents at the Brithdir Nursing Home is the subject of an inquest in Gwent (Family handout/PA).

Mrs Evans rejected the accuracy of nursing home records detailing her father's fluid intake and she said staff always had a "good explanation" when she questioned them about his food and drink consumption.

"I didn't argue with them, I wish I had now," she said.

Due to his declining health, Mr Bradford was admitted to the Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil on several occasions for complaints of "dehydration, chest and urine infections".

When he was admitted for the last time in August 2005 he was found to be dehydrated, suffering from pressure sores and "observed to be seriously malnourished".

Mrs Evans told the hearing while visiting her father at the hospital she saw him without clothes.

"It really shocked me. He appeared like skin and bone.

"His ribs, cheekbones, shoulder and collarbones were all exposed," she said.

"His stomach appeared to be sucked in and his knees were like two balls sat on legs that appeared like sticks.

"He resembled someone from a prisoner of war camp.

"It made me really sick to see him like that.

"I ran out of the room and I was physically sick.

"I knew he had lost weight, but I did not realise how bad it was."

She said during the six-week hospital stay her father appeared to perk up and was "happy and smiling".

She said when she told her father he was returning to Brithdir, he begged her not to take him back.

"I didn't question him on it because I just thought it was one of them times when he would say, 'Can I come home with you?'," she said.

Mr Bradford returned to the nursing home and died 10 days later.

His ex-wife Hazel said in a statement when she visited her former husband in the nursing home, she would give him fluid swabs to suck and he would "suck on it like his life depended on it".

She added: "It should have been obvious to them that he was wasting away."

Brithdir was closed in 2006, with its owner, Dr Prana Das, suffering a brain injury in 2012 which meant he never stood trial for alleged failings in care, before he died in January last year aged 73.

The inquest, set to last until March, will also look at the deaths of former Brithdir residents Stanley James, 89, June Hamer, 71, Edith Evans, 85, Evelyn Jones, 87, and William Hickman, 71.

A hearing into the death of a seventh resident, Matthew Higgins, 86, will be held following the conclusion of the other six.