Nursing assistant who attacked elderly patients given unpaid work order

Calum Knox assaulted Agnes Ferguson and Ann Reid while working at Crosshouse Hospital in Ayrshire in 2018.

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Sentence: Calum Knox attacked the two elderly women at Crosshouse Hospital.

A nursing assistant who attacked two elderly patients in a hospital ward has been given a community payback order.

Calum Knox assaulted Agnes Ferguson and Ann Reid, both aged 81, while working at Crosshouse Hospital, Kilmarnock, in Ayrshire, in 2018.

The 31-year-old repeatedly poked Agnes Ferguson in the ribs and syringed liquid into the mouth of the other victim exposing her to the risk of aspiration.

A judge told Knox at the High Court in Edinburgh: “These are serious offences as they were directed against vulnerable adults who were in hospital and in your care.”

Judge Fiona Tait said that in sentencing him she took into account that he was a first offender and a background report prepared on him assessed him as a low risk of future offending behaviour.

She imposed a community payback order on Knox requiring that he carry out the maximum period of 300 hours unpaid work with supervision for 12 months.

Knox, of Ayr, had originally faced a charge of attempting to murder Ann Reid and another woman but was acquitted of the murder bid allegations.

Defence counsel Lorenzo Alonzi said that Knox had faced “a very serious indictment” for a long period of time which had caused a lot of stress.

He said that the resulting convictions following his earlier trial were “very minor”. He said: “These are simple assaults – not to injury.”

Mr Alonzi told the court: “In my submission a custodial sentence would be excessive. He does not present as a risk of further offending. He is never going to work in this line of work again.”

The defence counsel said the background report prepared on Knox was favourable. 

He added: “He does not  accept that he committed these offences but accepts he has been convicted.”

Mr Alonzi argued that the two offences he was found guilty of were “right at the bottom of the scale”.