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Three people arrested in connection with investigation at north-east care home

Muirhead Care Home, near Alford.
Muirhead Care Home, near Alford.

Three people have been arrested in connection with an investigation into a care home which was forced to shut its doors by the courts.

Muirhead Care Home, near Alford, was closed – with its 29 vulnerable residents relocated – amid concerns over the welfare of the people that lived there.

The crisis unfolded after the Care Inspectorate called in the police after issues were raised by a member of staff at the privately-run home.

Now officers have confirmed that a 79-year-old man, a 78-year-old woman and a 56-year-old woman were taken into custody following an enquiry into the care and welfare of residents.

They will be released pending further inquiry.

Detective Inspector Davie Howieson said: “I would like to thank all those who have provided information and assisted with what has been a lengthy inquiry, supported throughout by our partners including Aberdeenshire Council and the Care Inspectorate.”

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Care bosses took emergency action to close the 35-bedroom care home after a spot inspection carried out in July highlighted damning failings, a move they said they would only do in “exceptional circumstances”.

During the spot-check they found “serious concerns” relating to food and nutrition and “numerous hazards”.

The home was graded as “unsatisfactory” in each of the four marking criteria used by the watchdog.

A report that was later published revealed a catalogue of incidents at the home involving residents being mistreated, including an “act of cruelty” where staff deliberately tormented a distressed woman  by withholding an item which would provide her comfort.

The report also described occasions where upset residents were restrained in chairs using “thick belts”.

There were not enough food supplies on the day of the inspection.

The report concluded that the “life, health and wellbeing” of residents was at risk and an application was made to Aberdeen Sheriff Court to cancel its registration.

That was granted.

Police confirmed a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal in due course.

Inquiries are ongoing.

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