A care worker who left a severely disabled woman to starve to death at home has been jailed for gross negligence manslaughter.
Tracey Burrows, of St Helens, lied to bosses about her patient not being at home leading to cancelled care visits.
Liverpool Crown Court heard Julie Cleworth, 43, who had had a stroke, was found dead on 9 February 2017 after four days without food or water.
Burrows, 56, who denied the charge, was sentenced to three years in prison.
Ms Cleworth – described by the prosecution during the trial as “helpless as a baby” – was put in bed by ambulance crews upon release from hospital.
She was completely immobile and reliant on care workers for her basic needs, with a care plan requiring two care workers to visit her five times a day.
Later that evening, on seeing Ms Cleworth’s house in darkness, Burrows did not get out of her car to check on her.
However Burrows, of Sherdley Park Drive, told her employers Unite Healthcare she had looked in every room of the house for her, the court heard.
Subsequently, the firm cancelled care visits.
‘Helpless in bed’
A post-mortem examination revealed Ms Cleworth had developed ketoacidosis, a condition in which toxins build up in the blood stream as a result of starvation.
In sentencing, Judge Neil Flewitt QC said: “Your neglect of Julie Cleworth set in motion an unbroken sequence of events which led directly to her death.”
He added Burrows “neither intended nor actually foresaw the consequences” of her actions
“One can only image the terror which must have overcome Julie Cleworth as she lay helpless in bed, realising that she had been abandoned and left to starve to death.”
Following the nine-day trial, Ms Cleworth’s mother Hilary Kenny said: “I’ve got justice for her.”
Det Insp Craig Turner of Merseyside Police said Burrows was “in a position of trust” and “has abused this trust”.
“Although this is a really awful series of events, I hope this sentencing brings some closure to Ms Cleworth’s family.”