An 81 year old aged care resident is recovering in hospital after she was attacked by a carer at South Australian facility.
Phillip Athanasos was on duty at Pine Lodge in Plympton North, when he violently beat the elderly woman over the head.
The incident occurred on Sunday night, with the staff reporting it to police the following day. Athanasos was arrested after being questioned on Tuesday night.
The victim told the police that she thought she was going to die when Athanasos allegedly put his hand over her mouth and told her “you will never cause any trouble again”.
Police prosecutor Andrew Gilleard told the Magistrates court on Wednesday, “The victim states the defendant put his hand over her mouth and tried to stifle her, she thought, ‘I’ve got to fight’ so she fought him off.”
“The victim thought she was going to die so she fought him off with her fists and hands.”
“She can’t recall many details in relation to this because she was so scared and thought she was going to die.”
The elderly woman was left with extensive injuries, including severe bruising to her face, neck and head, a laceration on the back of her head and two bleeds on her brain.
Athanasos reportedly has no formal qualifications but was hired due to previous “on-the-job caring experience”, was suspended by the facility when the allegations were brought to their attention.
The 45 year old carer, who had worked at the facility for more than eight years, was refused bail in Adelaide Magistrates Court on Wednesday over the alleged assault.
He denies the claims made against him, stating that the elderly woman fell over and he tried to help her.
“He said he had been in the room and left and put simply, the elderly lady fell over for whatever reason,” said the defense for Athanasos .
“He was the one who initially went to comfort her after she had taken a fall and he certainly denies in any way assaulting her or touching her or doing anything.”
Accusations were even made against the victim’s credibility.
“The victim, on my instruction, has a bit of a history of making accusations against people, which have turned out to be false.”
“On one occasion she indicated that a certain person was trying to kill her.
“There may have been some confusion because he was the first one to go and see her and he said, ‘Phillip’s here, Phillip’s here’.”
“He’s been a carer for 10-12 years, initially for disabled people and the last 8.5 years in his current employment, he comes here as a clean-skin — he’s never had a complaint made against him.”
“He’s quite taken back that this lady has made this allegation.”
The defense claimed Athanasos does not know what caused the bruising and lacerations on the elderly resident.
Athanasos was remanded in custody to return to court on April 10.
Pine Lodge’s operator, Southern Cross Care, have released a statement about the incident, saying, “Southern Cross Care treats matters of this nature extremely seriously, and will continue to fully assist SA Police with their investigation”.
“We are working with the resident’s family and will be supporting them at this time.”
Police are continuing to investigate the allegations, but believe that this case is an isolated incident.
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