Carer held child in a 'headlock' during 'prolonged' assaults

Richard Wetherall was working as a support worker in Inverness when the incidents happened between January 8 amd January 23, 2023.

Inverness carer put vulnerable child in a ‘headlock’ during ‘prolonged’ assaults iStock

A carer has been struck off after being convicted of “multiple and prolonged” assaults on a vulnerable child.

Richard Wetherall was convicted at Peterhead Sheriff Court of placing the child’s life at risk during the incidents in January 2023.

While employed as a support worker, he was found to have repeatedly grabbed a child – who had high care needs – by the neck and pulled him.

Mr Wetherall was found to have held the child’s nose to restrict his breathing and placed bedding over his face.

He also “aggressively” lifted and twisted the child’s upper body, dropped him onto the bed and used “excessive” force to move or hold him.

The watchdog found that the support worker’s conduct was “aggressive and abusive” and put the child’s life at risk.

The report from SSSC described the assaults as “prolonged and deliberate”.

“Your actions were abusive and demonstrate serious values and attitudinal issues. You failed to treat AA with dignity and respect and failed to work in a lawful, safe and effective way.

“Your actions were an abuse of trust and placed AA at significant risk of harm and fall far below the standards of a social services professional.

“You have shown no insight into your behaviour and there are no reassurances that there is no risk of repetition.

“There in an ongoing public protection risk and a reasonable person in possession of all the information would consider the reputation of the profession to be damaged if you were able to practise without restriction,” the report said.

On the support worker’s removal from the register, the SSSC, said: “The SSSC considers a Removal Order is the most appropriate sanction as it is both necessary and justified in the public interest and to maintain the continuing trust and confidence in the social service profession and the SSSC as the regulator of the profession.”

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