Wealthy brothers fined over 'depressing, unhygienic and unsafe' care home

Two wealthy brothers who ran a dangerous and dirty care home with rooms like "prison cells" where residents were not bathed or showered for a month have been fined £80,800.

Amjad and Amer Latif admitted 14 offences after a snap inspection horrified investigators and led to a court order to close the home, Mossley Manor, in Mossley Hill, south Liverpool.

They were called in by a woman who took her mother out of the home just two hours after first arriving.

Inspectors from watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) gagged at the overpowering stench inside the dirty and dangerous home, which charged a minimum of £1,000 per month to look after each of its 43 residents, many funded by the taxpayer.

It is not known how long residents had been forced to live in such squalor.

The brothers admitted at an earlier hearing failing to notify authorities about the deaths of 10 residents at the home, failing to inform the CQC of three serious incidents, failing to provide safe care and exposing residents to "significant" risk and harm.

Amjad, 56, who lives in a £1 million house in Bowdon, Cheshire, and Amer, 47, who lives in a £1.2 million gated house on a tree-lined street in Woolton, south Liverpool, pleaded guilty to 14 charges in all, between April 14 and June 2015.

The home and grounds are now on the market for £2.7 million.

Only Amjad appeared in the dock for sentencing at Liverpool Magistrates' Court, as a representative of the partnership running the business.

District Judge Andrew Shaw shook his head as Jenny Ashworth, prosecuting, outlined the catalogue of offences, saying the home was "depressing, unhygienic and unsafe".

Before passing sentence, Judge Shaw said he had read the "harrowing" prosecution case papers.

He said: "It was a distressing experience and emotionally I felt both a degree of incredulity and anger that the residents in this home were so betrayed by the individuals paid to look after them and deriving a considerable amount for doing so.

"This was a lack-of-care home, not a care home."

Earlier, Miss Ashworth told the court: "The defendants received significant income from the operation of this care home, £1,000 per month per service user.

"The defendants were regularly on site, the two brothers had an office at the location.

"The defendants must have seen the state of the premises and should have acted.

"The dignity of these elderly and vulnerable service users was compromised."

Conditions only came to light as a result of the CQC inspections in May and June 2015.

Inspectors found there was no hot water, toilets were dirty and there was a risk of infections spreading.

There was not enough staff, they were not trained and some who were employed had criminal convictions while looking after elderly and vulnerable residents.

The premises were badly maintained and unsafe, some windows did not close properly and there were fire hazards, with residents smoking in the home, with cigarette butts and ash on furniture and carpets.

Residents were also put to bed at 6pm as there were no activities, nothing for them to do and TVs did not work.

Inspectors also reported an "overpowering" smell of stale urine and body odour and some residents, some incontinent, had not been given a bath or shower for at least four weeks.

A member of staff told inspectors: "Some of the bedrooms are like a prison cell."

All 43 residents were rehoused by the local authority.

It is only the fourth prosecution by the CQC since the watchdog was given new powers to prosecute care home owners.

Kevin Donnelly, defending, said the brothers were educated men with professional qualifications and other business interests.

They inherited the home from their late father in 2002, and decided to take over running the business, an "unwise" decision as they had no idea what running a care home entailed, complacency set in and they failed to take sufficient interest in the enterprise.

Mr Donnelly said the findings of the inspectors came as a "great shock" and they were genuinely remorseful.

"They don't intend to operate in this sector again," he added.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt welcomed the prosecution but the Government is under pressure to provide more cash as councils struggle to pay fees for residential care and homes close as they are making losses.

Barbara Keeley MP, Labour's shadow minister for social care and mental health, said: "There are wider questions for the Government on just how this level of neglectful care was allowed to develop unchecked.

"The Government must ensure our care system does not allow standards to fall to the level found at this care home, leaving residents exposed to harm and neglect."

The Latifs were also ordered to pay £1,509.72p in court costs.