Judith Jones is the deputy matron at Denison House, a small private nursing home in Selby,Yorkshire which looks after elderly and disabled people. One day a care assistant told Judith that Mr Tiplady, who ran the home with his wife, was behaving oddly in one of the rooms. When Judith went to investigate, Mr Tiplady was not there but Judith found what looked like semen on a lady’s cardigan and in her hair. She immediately tended to the resident, washing her and her cardigan.
A few weeks later, Judith heard about Public Concern at Work and contacted us. As Mr Tiplady ran the home with his wife, she didn’t feel confident that she could safely raise the matter internally. Equally, if she went to the Health Authority inspectors or to the police, there was a risk because she had removed the evidence, she was worried that it would simply be a matter of her word against Mr Tiplady’s. As he had a long career in the caring sector - for which he had received a Gold Award from the Archbishop of York -Judith’s word alone might not have been enough.
WHAT WE ADVISED
We advised Judith to keep a vigilant eye on Mr Tiplady and to try to ensure that he was not left alone with the female residents. If another incident occurred, we advised her to contact us immediately and take care to keep any supporting evidence. We checked with the Social Services Inspectorate who confirmed our advice was sensible.
Several months later Judith rang. The previous night she had entered a room where there were two blind ladies and one with senile dementia; Mr Tiplady seemed to have his groin in the face of the lady with dementia. Judith thought he might be forcing oral sex on her. She left the room and got a colleague. Once Mr Tiplady had gone, they returned and, with a clean swab, took a specimen from the lady’s mouth.
Once she was home, Judith contacted us. We needed a forensic test of the swab however neither the Social Services Inspectorate nor the police could assist in this. The police could not arrange one unless there was a formal complaint. Even if there was a formal complaint, if the specimen proved negative, they would have to question Mr Tiplady. We pointed out that this put Judith in a vulnerable position. We decided to pay the costs of the swab test. The Forensic Laboratory collected the swab from Judith’s home and within 24 hours the sample had been found to contain semen.
We immediately forwarded the evidence to Selby CID who interviewed Judith and arrested Mr Tiplady the next day. He initially denied the allegation but, when confronted with the forensic evidence, changed his stance. Mr Tiplady pleaded guilty to three charges of indecent assault over a nine year period and was jailed for four years.
The home now has new owners, Judith’s job is secure and the residents are well cared for. As one of the residents’ relatives said “If it hadn’t been for her, it could still be going on and no-one would ever have known. Judy Jones deserves a medal.”