Molly Frank: Carer died hours after ‘violent’ dementia patient, 95, lashed out at her in Holloway, inquest hears

A police van parked outside Papworth Gardens. Picture: Polly Hancock

A police van parked outside Papworth Gardens. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

An agency carer died of a brain bleed after her “violent” 95-year-old dementia patient lashed out as she helped change him in his Holloway home, an inquest heard today.

Papworth Gardens. Picture: Polly Hancock

Papworth Gardens. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Molly Frank, 61, was employed by private agency London Care, and worked night shifts looking after Ahmed Seddiki and his wife at their flat in Papworth Gardens on the Ringcross Estate.

The court heard how Ms Frank was hospitalised after she restrained a “thrashing” Mr Seddiki on May 24 – and that she died from an inter-cerebral haemorrhage and “catastrophic and inoperable” bleed to the brain 24 hours later.

Edwin Buckett, assistant coroner for inner London, told jurors: “Mr Seddiki was 95 years of age and a challenging patient who had dementia. He was largely bed-bound and required changing by the carers .

“In the early hours Molly and [her colleague Pamela Mbeta-Buhika] needed to change his underwear; they were working together.

Police enter a flat in Papworth Gardens after Molly Frank's death. Picture: Polly Hancock

Police enter a flat in Papworth Gardens after Molly Frank's death. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

“Mr Seddiki was in bed, Molly was standing at the top of the bed holding his arms – at this point it would appear that Mr Seddiki lashed out in some way and struck Molly – that will be for [the jury] to decide.

“Pamela didn’t see it [the blow landing] but Molly immediately sat down and I think held her head in pain. An ambulance was called.”

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Molly also suffered from hypertension, for which she was on medication.

Pamela, who’d worked night shifts with Molly at the address for over a year, broke down as she gave evidence of the events leading up to her friend’s death at the inquest.

Asked how Mr Seddiki behaved when he was being changed, she said: “He is a very aggressive man. He can kick you, push you. [...]

“Quite a few people had reported what was going on at that house but I don’t know why it was taking long to sort out.”

She told how the shift had been “fairly peaceful” to begin with, as both the Seddikis were asleep in their separate rooms, allowing the carers to huddle over a mobile phone to watch some of prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding. This changed when they went to change Mr Seddiki at 4am or 4.30am, she said.

The court heard how Mr Seddiki was mercurial on account of his dementia and could either be a “good man” or act violently towards the carers.

On May 24 he “didn’t want to be changed” and was shouting at them to leave or he’d call the police, Pamela told the court.

She said Molly put a spit mask on him at this time as a protective measure as he’d allegedly spat at them before when he was in such a state.

Pamela had her back to Molly, as she was holding the patient’s feet and trying to change him.

Pamela told jurors: “She said: ‘Mr Seddiki, don’t hit me. Ah, Pamela, I have a headache. Ah, this headache is bad. [..]

“She just left and was holding the wardrobe saying: ‘This headache is different.’”

The witness said Molly lay down on the floor – she got her a pillow while calling an ambulance.

Pamela told the court: “She was just crying so badly and said: “Oh, my god, this headache is different.” I was saying: ‘Molly, please stay with me.’”

She said it wasn’t unusual for Mr Seddiki to strike out because that’s what they’d regularly go through and it was “nothing new”.

During questioning by Oliver Lewis, for the family, Pamela said the patient was a “strong man” and that “a lot of people reported him hitting carers with [his] zimmer frame.

“I just want to ask you about the employment relationship between Molly and London Care,” Mr Lewis said to Pamela.

“As a result of being on a zero-hour contract, if Molly had called in sick...”

“If you’re sick you don’t get paid,” Pamela interjected. “That’s why we worked hard to pay the bills.”

Mr Brownhill, for London Care, said: “As a friend, you had some concerns about Molly’s health, and one of the things you were worried about was Molly’s physical health.

“And when police came to talk to you after Molly died you told them you had always said she needed to eat better; you had also said to Molly previously to take a break.”

He added: “Molly never said to you that [Mr Seddiki] had hit her head and to be very clear again you never saw Mr Seddiki hit Molly.

“And after Molly complained about pain in her head she never said Mr Seddiki hit her.”

Det Sgt Simon Cormack, who led the investigation into Molly’s death, revealed there was a previously logged police “incident” where the deceased had “locked herself in the bathroom” because she “felt threatened” by Mr Seddiki in February 2017. No further action was taken and it wasn’t “flagged up to safeguarding to take any further,” Det Sgt Cormack said. But Molly is said to have temporarily stopped working there.

Pressed on how the police dealt with Mr Seddiki following Molly’s death, the chief said: “He was arrested. However, he never entered into any police station. It was determined it was not appropriate for him. He was taken to hospital and was assessed in hospital. They said that at that time he did not have the capacity [for police] to interview him under caution. Not fit to be detained, not fit to be interviewed, not fit to come into any police station.”

He said there were six cameras in the house, including one in Mr Seddiki’s room, but these only sent a live feed to the elderly couple’s daughter and nothing was recorded.

The inquest, which is expected to conclude on Wednesday, continues.