A CARE home worker who committed a “gross breach of trust” by assaulting three residents was given a suspended prison sentence.

Racquel Welch, 46, had denied three charges of assault by beating against three men at St Anne’s care home in Chepstow last year but was found guilty following a trial in May.

She was sacked when the assaults at the care home on Welsh Street came to light.

Chairwoman of the bench Gillian Rogers told Welch: “This case is so serious that only a custodial sentence can be considered.

“You assaulted three elderly people in your care, which is a gross breach of trust.”

But she said considering Welch’s previous good character and her work in care homes for the last 14 years, the sentence would be suspended for 12 months.

Welch, of Wyndcliffe View, St Arvans, Chepstow, was given two concurrent sentences of 26 weeks for two of the assaults and 18 weeks for the other.

The court heard how in one incident Welch grabbed a man’s hand and bent back his ring and little fingers towards his wrist and told him “that’s what happens if you don’t behave”, leaving him screaming in pain.

In another, prosecutor Rob Simkins said the senior care worker had thrown one of the men on a bed so hard he struck his head on it.

The complaints only came to light after two of Welch’s colleagues told their manager after witnessing the assaults, which were reported last September and took place between August and September.

They told police of what one said was “abuse” and “completely uncalled for and unnecessary” behaviour.

The Argus previously reported how a court heard a man told Welch during one of the assaults: “You’re very strong, you’re very powerful”. And she replied: “Yes I am. Don’t I know it.”

Two of the men are unfit to make a statement, while a third did not want to issue a complaint against Welch.

Welch was also ordered to do 300 hours of unpaid work, pay £620 prosecution costs, £100 compensation and an £80 victim surcharge. This must be paid off at a rate of £10 per fortnight.