ELDERLY and vulnerable residents of a care home were slapped, verbally abused and denied use of the toilet for up to 90 minutes, a court heard.

Three ex-staff members at the Winterbrook Nursing Home in Cholsey deny 18 counts of ill treatment on a number of residents between April 2015 and July 2017.

Mary Craddock, 59, of Croft Road, Wallingford, Joan Lovell, 63, of St Leonard’s Lane, Wallingford and Elizabeth Collins, 62, of Kynaston Road, Didcot, are all charged with alleged ill treatment.

Craddock worked as a carer at the Oxfordshire home while Lovell was both a carer and in a supervisory position with Collins as the manager - they all face charges of ill treatment either as carers themselves or in a position of authority while the alleged ill treatment took place.

As their trial at Oxford Crown Court started today prosecutor Kim Preston told jurors that the women had been a 'law unto themselves' while employed at the home.

She said: "There were reports of being refused access to the toilet for many of these residents who require assistance in going to the toilet.

"Reports of residents being slapped, of a resident being somewhat humiliated, being left partially undressed having soiled themselves."

She added that although the women were not 'evil, bad people' they had an obligation to those at the home to 'treat them with dignity and kindness'.

Speaking of Collins' position as a manager at the home she told jurors that when incidents were raised to her she said she didn't want to hear about it and had been 'dismissive' of the complaints.

Going on to detail numerous instances of alleged abuse she told jurors that one woman had been slapped on her bottom by Craddock who told her to 'move her big fat arse'.

Another male resident of the home, she said, was also 'slapped' by Craddock, an act she said was witnessed by another member of staff.

A policy was also introduced at the centre, the court heard, which Miss Preston called 'protected toilet time', forbidding the use of the toilet during meal times - with patients refused access to the facilities for up to 90 minutes.

Residents would sometimes soil themselves, jurors were told, and they were made to believe that the rule was backed by the full force of the law as well as the Care Quality Commission.

One resident at the home - a dementia sufferer, was 'taunted' and told that she had eaten an imaginary Budgerigar, the court heard, causing her distress.

Jurors went on to hear yesterday from one resident at the home Marjorie Tillman, who gave a recorded interview to police.

During the interview the woman who suffers from Parkinson's disease said of the toilet policy: "I have been asked to wait reasonably often.

"I don't like it, but usually I am alright [though] I have had accidents."

She said one such accident had made her feel 'humiliated' and speaking of the alleged verbal abuse at the home she added: "I tried to shut my ears to it.

"Mary [Craddock] swore a lot and had a very inelegant way of expressing herself.

"She was very rough and ready. When she first came she worked very hard and was very nice to everybody but as time progressed she got older and more tired and more bad tempered."

Asked by the interviewer how she felt about the 'protected toilet time' policy she said that she had been told it was the law and having no knowledge of the law she didn't know if it was true or not, and went on to ask the interviewer if she knew.

She added that she was 'made to feel guilty' at asking to use the toilet during these times.

She said: "It is not very nice if you are made to feel guilty about asking for help with something."

The court also heard yesterday that the three women gave a voluntary interview to police on July 17 last year and during the interviews all three denied the incidents and the ill treatment.

Craddock, explaining the alleged incident of slapping a resident's bottom told police she would not have said that because the resident had dementia and so would not understand what it meant, the court heard.

All three women deny the charges and the trial - expected to last between two and three weeks, continues.