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The La Milagrosa care home in Malaga.
The La Milagrosa care home in Malaga. / SALVADOR SALAS

Care-worker abusers caught on camera at home for the disabled

  • The owners contracted private detectives, believing staff were sleeping on the job, but the recordings allegedly revealed something far more disturbing and four have been arrested

Eight cameras hidden inside furniture have been key to uncovering supposed abuse of residents at a care home in Malaga for people with severe mental disabilities. Four people have been arrested in connection with the incident.

The La Milagrosa care home owners had employed private detectives to fit the recording devices in the belief that they would reveal that some staff had been sleeping during the night shift when they should have been working. Putting the cameras in wasn’t easy as the centre has 46 employees as well as the residents themselves. However the unpleasant discovery when managers at the centre came to review the recordings was unexpected.

Instead of sleeping employees, an initial look at the results of the undercover operation revealed abuse of six residents by some of the staff. Allegedly, one of the victims, a 40-year-old severely disabled man, had been subjected to continual mistreatment involving physical violence but, as he was unable to speak, had been unable to report the abuse.

On seeing the evidence, management immediately reported the employee to police, handing over a USBstick with the recordings. They also informed the possible victims and other staff as well as the Junta de Andalucía and the Diputación provincial authority, the two local authorities who have agreements to place residents in the charity-owned home.

Police moved quickly to detain the carer featured in the recordings. He is also accused of abusing another two residents, although not with the same degree of violence as the first alleged victim. The man was subsequently released while investigations continue.

More staff held

The officers continued reviewing all the recordings and went on to identify another three employees at the care home that appeared to have acted in a harmful way towards four residents, one of whom was the same man purportedly most severely abused by the first staff member held. These three were also arrested a few days later and questioned and released, police sources said.

While police investigations are ongoing, representatives of La Milagrosa care home have defended their management, saying that they acted “immediately” to stop those involved in the scandal having further contact with residents. They have also said that the centre will actively collaborate “with all involved to ensure that nothing like this can happen again.”