Feb 14, 2018

Should Convicted Criminals Be Allowed to Live in Aged Care Facilities?

Safety is one of the most important things that aged care should offer. The elderly residents should be safe from harm from the carers, staff and the other residents.

In order to enforce such safety, should there be police background checks on potential aged care residents before they are allowed to move in?

This question comes to mind after a convicted murderer, who was living in a NSW aged care facility, stabbed another resident during lunch.

Could this have been avoided if there were stricter rules in place for who is allowed to live with people who were law-abiding members of the community?

A court recently heard that George McLeod stabbed a man during a lunchtime row over a Kenny Rogers CD.

The 78 year old had previously served time for murder, after beating a woman to death with an iron bar and shooting his wife in the face and back.

After being imprisoned for 12 years, he was released and transferred to an aged care facility in Redfern, NSW.

It was there that was accused of knifing his own friend, and has now been charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

The allegedly repeatedly stabbed his “lunch buddy”, Tom Bermingham, at Annie Green Court, an aged-care facility run by Mission Australia on September 26, 2016.

Apparently, the altercation was triggered when Bermingham continued to ask for his Kenny Rogers CD to be returned.

McLeod was armed with two knives and allegedly stabbed his victim in the face near his jaw and another four times in the shoulder and upper-back. It is currently unknown where he got the knives from.

After the attack, McLeod was disarmed by carers and taken back to his room. Afterwards, McLeod asked the carer to wash his bloodied shirt, demanding that hewatchedh as she put it in the washing machine.

According to Bermingham, he didn’t know his friend was a convicted murderer.

‘I’m so bloody angry it was a convicted killer, fair dinkum,’ he told The Daily Telegraph.

McLeod was sentenced to life in prison for the 1989 murder, but the sentence was reduced to 12 years on appeal. He was released from prison in 2001, and finished his parole period in 2004.

Legally speaking, he has served his time and was a “free man” and was allowed to live among the community – which includes accessing aged care services.

Even though he was allowed to live in aged care, should the staff and other residents be informed of past? Much like discussion about parents and community dwellers being able to access information about sex offenders who live in their local area.

Another resident, Carl Arthur, told the court in the weeks before the stabbing he heard McLeod tell Mr Bermingham, “you’re scum, I’m going to kill ya.”

McLeod pleaded not guilty on grounds of mental illness. Despite his criminal history, McLeod’s defence says that McLeod has vascular dementia and that his violent act was because he had an “episode of delirium”.

He is currently being held behind bars at Long Bay prison as the trial continues.

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  1. It is not just the aged that live in aged care facilities some residents can be in their early 50’s .
    I work in an aged care facility in WA, personally I totally agree all staff should be made aware if a resident coming into care has a criminal back ground past or present, other residents living in the facility already need not be informed as long as all staff have been fully briefed on the situation. There should be some form of evaluation done relating to their criminal back ground by the facility prior to their approval of entering the facility.
    It would also depend of the nature of the crime as to whether the person be permitted to stay at the facility and staff are all on board.

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