Care worker jailed after abusing vulnerable teen

They will appear at St Albans Crown Court on December 21. Picture: Danny Loo

They will appear at St Albans Crown Court on December 21. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

A care worker has been jailed for 20 months after being caught on film abusing the vulnerable teenage girl in her care.

The 15-year-old tetraplegic from St Albans, who needs 24-hour care, was treated like a “rag doll” by Michelle Cave, her carer of 10 years.

Prosecutor Martin Mulgrew said at St Albans Crown Court that Cave, of High Street, London Colney, had been “burning the candle at both ends”, working at the girl’s home at night and acting as a carer for others in the day.

Cave, 48, was caught when the victim’s mother woke and saw, on a monitor, her swearing and manhandling her daughter.

In a victim statement read to the court, the mother said Cave had spent the extra money she was earning on a new car and a £6,000 tummy tuck.

“To have an employee I trusted to abuse her to the highest degree is disgraceful," she said. "The abuse left her (the victim) confused and scared. I cannot rid myself of the image of Michelle pulling her hair. She pulled and pushed her like a rag doll.”

“I totally trusted Michelle - she worked for me for 10 years. My daughter could not tell me she was being abused.”

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Cave appeared for sentencing, having pleaded guilty to the ill-treatment and wilful neglect of the 15-year-old girl between November 25 and 27 last year. 

Defending, Christopher Harding said: “She worked for 10 years for family and knew them longer than that.

"I am making a full and unreserved apology on her behalf for her behaviour on that evening.

“She is deeply sorry. In doing what she did she destroyed the trust and relationship.”

He said she had no previous convictions or cautions, but by having two jobs had allowed the situation to arrive where she was not fit to work that night. 

Jailing her, Judge Caroline Wigin said: “At the time you were working the night shift and unbeknownst to her mother you were working day shifts as a carer.

“I have no doubt she, the victim, despite her difficulties in communicating, experiences pain, anxiety and stress.

“What you did on that night may well affect her for the rest of her life. “

“Such an egregious breach of trust, and where the consequences for the child and family have been so utterly devastating, an immediate sentence of custody must be imposed.”

The judge also banned Cave from ever working as a carer.

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