Retired nurse tells of her humiliation over arrest after attempting to take mother out of care home

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A retired nurse has told of the 'degrading' moment she found herself handcuffed in the back of the police car, simply for trying to take her mother from a care home.

Ylenia Angeli and her daughter, former Coronation Street actress Leandra Ashton, 42, were horrified to see the condition of Tina Thornborough, 97, when they attended Northgate Care Home, Market Weighton, East Yorks, on Tuesday.  

Mrs Angeli pushed past a member of staff whilst still holding a bunch of roses she had brought for the visit and wheeled her mum outside.

To her horror Humberside Police were called to the scene by the care home - who were responsible for her mother's care under the UK's power of attorney rules.

Though Mrs Angeli, 73, had power of attorney over her mother's financial affairs, she did not over her care - which reverts to the state for people in care homes unless it has previously been granted to family or a close friend. 

The pair say they now face a battle to 'free' their relative from the home. 

Following the incident, in which Angeli was arrested on suspicion of assault, before later being de-arrested by police, she told MailOnline: 'I was shocked and wondering "how has it come to this?"

'To prevent me from leaving with my own mother, who I wanted to give the loving care of her daughter, which she so needed, they handcuffed me. 

Ylenia Angeli and her daughter, former Coronation Street actress Leandra Ashton, 42, were horrified to see the condition of Tina Thornborough, 97, when they attended Northgate Care Home, Market Weighton, East Yorks, on Tuesday

Ms Angeli was detained by police after forcing her way into the home and removing her mother, Tina Thornborough (pictured), who she had not hugged for nine months due to Covid

Ylenia Angeli, 73, was taken to Hull police station on Tuesday before later being de-arrested following the incident, which was recorded on film

'It was hard to believe that at the age of 73 I was sitting in handcuffs in the back of a police car, but I didn't have time to consider my own position very much.

'I was more concerned about Leandra who was understandably extremely distressed and my mum who was in the midst of all this chaos and confusion.

'I felt helpless and just had to remain calm for their sake but it was degrading to find myself in that situation, I was no threat to anyone, it was so unnecessary to detain me that way, I was not a criminal.'

What is a Power of Attorney and who is responsible for your care if you do not have one?  

A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets a person appoint one or more people, known in this instance as ‘attorneys’, to help a person make decisions or to make decisions on their behalf.  

The document allows the attorney or attorneys control over what happens to a person if they have an accident or illness and can no longer make their own decisions.   

Though far from being exclusive to cases of dementia, it is commonly used in such situations, and is a good example of its use, because the condition slowly deteriorates a person's mental capacity - to the point where they are no longer be able to make a decision for themselves.

The conditions for making an LPA are that you must be 18 or over and have mental capacity when you make it.  

It costs £82 to register an LPA unless you get an exemption or discount.

But while power of attorneys are often thought of as a means to control a person's finances - often preventing them from falling victims of unscrupulous scammers as their mental health deteriorates - there are actually two types of power of attorney.

The first is property and financial affairs and the second is health and welfare.

In England and Wales, you can choose to make one type or both. There are different rules for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The latter LPA, crucially, gives the person with power of attorney the right to decide where their loved one lives.

In Mrs Thornborough’s case, her late husband applied only for the power of financial attorney to be granted to his family should his wife outlive him and be unable to manage them herself.

The power of attorney for health and welfare reverts to the state for people in care homes unless it has previously been granted to family or a close friend.

Without this power of attorney being given to someone else, it means the state - usually the local council - has responsibility for your daily routine, for example washing, dressing, eating and medical care.

That means at the time of the incident Mrs Thornborough was the responsibility of the state, despite Mrs Angeli and Miss Thornton being directly related to her.

Speaking of the moment the police arrived, she said: 'I had Mum in the car with me and was sitting with the engine running to keep us both warm.

'The police officer came over and took the keys from my car which shocked me and made me angry. He had already blocked my car in and said he was going to arrest me.

'I don't think even at that point I believed it but he was very strict and no nonsense and suddenly I was in handcuffs.

'They were doing their job, I recognise that, but it was so sad that it came to that.'

She has now been left fearing more than ever for the welfare of her mother, a retired seamstress, in the home.

Mrs Angeli, of York, said: 'I want my mum out of there just as quickly as is possible, but I have no idea when that might be.

'My fear now is that she will have to go into isolation because they will say she has been 'contaminated' and will be left in a room on her own to deteriorate further and further.

'Ultimately I'm frightened that we lose her before this can be resolved but we're doing everything we can to try to make sure that doesn't happen.'

Leandra told of the horrifying moment when she and her mother felt they had no choice but to remove Mrs Thonborough from the home.

She said: 'We were supposed to be going for what they call our 'window visit' the last one before this lockdown began. 'They aren't adequate, you can't expect someone with advanced dementia to understand what this means and be able to respond to it, they can't.

'But it was better than nothing and we took some flowers with us, roses, to give to her.

'But when we saw her it was quite horrifying.She was drawn, her cheeks were sunken, she looked incredibly small and terribly frail.

'As soon as I saw her I burst into tears, it was so distressing to see her look so tiny, so ill and reduced.

'My mum reacted more decisively than I did. A member of the office staff had come over and was being very unsympathetic and Mum just pushed past her to get to my Nan. 

'It was a spur of the moment thing, there was no preconceived plan, we just did it. It was reaction to seeing how terrible she looked.

'What transpired from there will be very hard to forget.'

Leandra said that she and her mother have power of attorney over her mother's finances but not her wellbeing.   

Under UK law there are two types of attorney which can be granted; property and financial affairs attorney and health and welfare attorney.

The latter, crucially, gives the person with power of attorney the right to decide where their loved one lives.

In Mrs Thornborough’s case, her late husband applied only for the power of financial attorney to be granted to his family should his wife outlive him and be unable to manage them herself.

The power of attorney for health and welfare reverts to the state for people in care homes unless it has previously been granted to family or a close friend.

Miss Ashton explained: 'Before he died my grandfather said he wanted power of attorney over Nan's finances to remain with the family, he assumed that would be sufficient because she would always be able to express her wishes herself. 

'But the dementia has meant that is no longer possible and we find ourselves in this awful position.'

Miss Ashton and her mother now face what could be a prolonged fight to free Mrs Thornborough from the home's care.

Mrs Angeli said: 'As a protest I withdrew the payments that we make for her care and when they weren't receiving money they were suddenly happy to release her into our care.

'But social services in the East Riding stepped in and stopped that, they told us they would be putting her in another home and haven't even told us where that would be. 

'We must find some solution to this and quickly. We have written to our MPs, public health officials, social workers. Anyone who might listen to us and realise that the best place my mother could be is with us.

Earlier today, Miss Ashton, who starred in the ITV soap Coronation Street in 2016, and her mother, gave an emotional interview with This Morning, in which the retired nurse said she 'couldn't bear' to be apart from her mother any longer. 

Speaking on the ITV show, she said: ‘I saw my mother through the window and it broke my heart. I just wanted to hold her and tell her that I love her.

‘I requested to see her in person and we were taken out into the court yard and I was told my request was denied. 

Ylenia Angeli (pictured right with daughter Leandra Ashton), 73, was detained by police on suspicion of assault yesterday after trying to take her 97-year-old mother Tina Thornborough out of a care facility and bring her home before lockdown.

‘I couldn’t bear it for one moment longer. I had a bunch of flowers and I requested they be given to her and they opened the door slightly.

‘I pushed my way through in held her in my arms for the first time in nine months and we cried and kissed.' 

She added: 'A member of staff was trying to take the wheelchair off me and all the while they were saying “I’m going to call the police, I’m going to call the police”.

‘It was dreadful and I’m speaking for every single person in the same position as us, we cannot touch or cannot see our loved ones and they are deteriorating in front of eyes.' 

It comes after Mrs Angeli was detained by police after forcing her way into the home and removing her mother who she had not hugged for nine months because of the pandemic.

What are the rules on visiting care homes during new lockdown? 

Regulations state that it is reasonably necessary for someone to leave their home to visit a person staying in a care home if they are a member of that person's household, a close family member or a friend.

Guidance issued by the Department of Health and Social Care lists a number of ways care homes could allow visitors, including having designated visitor pods with floor-to-ceiling screens and separate entrances.

Outdoor visits with one other person are permitted, provided the area can be accessed by the loved one without going into the main building.

Visits at windows, "where the visitor doesn't need to come inside the care home or where the visitor remains in their car, and the resident is socially distanced" are also allowed.

Video calls between residents and family members, supported by a multimillion-pound distribution of 11,000 iPad devices to care homes, are also encouraged.

The department said plans are currently being developed to allow specific family and friends to visit care homes supported by a testing programme, although trials will not begin until later in November

In distressing footage posted online, Mrs Angeli can be seen being handcuffed and detained in the back of a police car in Market Weighton, East Yorkshire, while her frail mother looks on.

Humberside Police later said they had been responding to reports of an assault and Mrs Angeli was subsequently de-arrested and allowed home. Mrs Thornborough was later returned to the care home.

Miss Ashton, 42, who posted the video of the incident on Facebook, could be heard sobbing on the footage and saying 'everyone needs to see how ridiculous this situation is'.

During the live This Morning interview, Miss Ashton today called for change over the rules.

She said: ‘We are not alone in this, there are thousands of families in the same position. These rules that are in place, in order to protect and to save need to be fundamentally challenged by us all.

‘This is having an impact on every aspect of life and well-being.

'This whole idea of a focus on staying safe and saving lives, this isn’t any more about staying safe and saving lives, this is about having a life, and those people in care homes are being denied a life.’ 

During another interview, on BBC Radio Five Live, she called for relatives of people in care homes to be given key worker status to allow them to see their relatives face-to face. 

'There are so many illnesses out there that are killing more, dementia being one of them,' she said. 

Minister for Care Helen Whatley, also speaking on This Morning said the government was issuing new guidance on visits to care homes, but stressed the importance of keeping the vulnerable safe. 

She said: 'We are in the context where parts of the country, 1 in 40 people are estimated to have Covid.

‘So if you have a care home in an area like that with say 40 people in it and 40 people coming to visit them, then the likelihood is that one of those 40 people would be Covid positive and might not even know it.

‘We know we have PPE, we know we have social distancing, we know we have these measures, but if someone does take it into a care home it’s still incredibly hard to stop it from passing to vulnerable people.'

Presenter Phil Schofield said Ms Whatley 'looked cold and heartless' during the segment, but she responded by saying she had 'been in tears listening to the stories and talking to people who haven’t been able to see those that they love'.

The incident initially made national headlines after, Miss Ashton appeared on Coronation Street during 2016 as Saskia Larson, the fiancee of Will Chatterton, played by Leon Ockenden, posted a video on Facebook.

During the video of her mother being arrested, Miss Ashton, who is now working as a yoga teacher, was heard to say: 'My nan, my 97-year-old nan who we have taken from her care home because we haven't seen her for nine months and is now being taken back by force to her care home.

Humberside Police officers told Miss Ashton that her mother would be taken to Hull police station before they began negotiating over taking her grandmother back to the care home

'My mother has been arrested, she is a nurse, a fully qualified nurse wishing to care for her own mother, and we have an incredible use of police time to take my 97-year-old grandmother back into her care home where she is deteriorating because we have not been able to see her for nine months.'

Speaking directly to her bewildered grandmother, she adds: 'Nan, I love you and will fight for you.' 

Mrs Angeli later said: 'Tried to visit my 97-year-old mother today and was ARRESTED as I could no longer bear her deterioration and forced my way into the home.

Prime Minister's spokesperson says care home video was 'distressing' but that facilities 'must stay Covid-secure'

Downing Street said it recognised there had been 'distressing scenes' during the arrest of a 73-year-old woman after she attempted to take her 97-year-old mother out of a care home.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman told reporters at a briefing: 'They clearly are distressing scenes.

'I think the police have said themselves the situation was distressing and emotional for all of those involved.

'We absolutely understand how difficult the current situation is for families and those with loved ones in care homes and that's why we're publishing new guidance to enable more visits to take place.

'But it does have to be done in a way that's Covid-secure because of the risk to residents, family members and staff, and we need to ensure they are kept safe.'

Asked about whether Boris Johnson thought the police handling of the situation in Market Weighton in East Yorkshire had been 'heavy handed', his spokesman said the police had 'acknowledged that they sympathise with all families that find themselves in this position'.

The spokesman said there was not a 'one-size-fits all answer unfortunately' to whether families could take their loved ones out of care homes.

'I was able to put my arms around my mother and tell her how much I loved her. 

'The home called the police!!! I was released eventually as the police said it was due to emotions running too high. What are we coming to?

'We seriously need to fight this on all fronts! I'm 73 and was handcuffed and put into a police car and told I was to be taken to the police station.

'This has definitely got to stop. The collateral damage to families is more than devastating. It's totally destructive.

'We will continue to fight with a fierce love for all our loved ones incarcerated in 'care' homes.'

The incident is believed to have taken place outside the Northgate House care home on Tuesday.

It highlights the plight of families and care home residents who've been separated and unable to have any physical contact since the coronavirus crisis began. 

Today a Downing Street spokesperson recognised the video showed 'distressing scenes', but insisted the rules were there to protect the vulnerable. 

A spokesprson for Number 10 said: 'I think the police have said themselves the situation was distressing and emotional for all of those involved.

'We absolutely understand how difficult the current situation is for families and those with loved ones in care homes and that’s why we’re publishing new guidance to enable more visits to take place.

'But it does have to be done in a way that’s Covid-secure because of the risk to residents, family members and staff, and we need to ensure they are kept safe.'

Asked about whether Boris Johnson thought the police handling had been 'heavy handed', his spokesman said the police had 'acknowledged that they sympathise with all families that find themselves in this position'.

The spokesman said there was not a 'one-size-fits all answer unfortunately' to whether families could take their loved ones out of care homes.   

Meanwhile, Mrs Angeli said she took here mother out of the home as she want to 'care for her myself'.

She said: 'I want to be the one who feeds her, hugs her, puts my arms around her and everything else.

'If she's at home with me I can see her everyday and give her everything she needs. I'm a trained nurse, I had my own care home so I know what I'm doing.'

Leandra Ashton, who shared this photo of her previous visit to her grandmother in the care home, said they hadn't been able to see her in nine months due to coronavirus restrictions 

Speaking about the arrest, she said: 'I just thought, 'This cannot be happening,' it was absolutely horrible.'

Miss Ashton had gone to the home with her mother for their final 'window visit'.

She said: 'When I saw my nan through the glass I started crying and my mum asked if we could bring nan out so we could see her without the glass. They said no.

'She pushed this woman out of the way quite lightly to get to my nan so she could hug her. My mum then wheeled my nan around to see me.

'We were outside and we just thought, 'Let's keep going,' it wasn't pre-meditated. My nan was absolutely fine, she was enjoying it all and just really, really pleased to see us. 

'As we were working out what the hell we were going to do the police came and blocked us in.'

Yesterday the Government said care home visits could take place during the new national lockdown, but only outdoors, through windows or in personal protect equipment covered pods.

Posting on Facebook about her struggles to see her grandmother, Rada-trained actress Miss Ashton wrote in August how Mrs Thornborough had deteriorated as a result of not having physical contact with her family for five months.

Sharing a photograph of herself holding her grandmother's hands, she wrote: 'It was the first time I've touched her in five months. In that time she has deteriorated.

'She has dementia. She is confused at the best of times. Now she is weaker, has lost weight and has ended up in hospital.'

Pleading for rules on visiting care home residents to be relaxed, she wrote: 'Lockdown was supposed to protect the most vulnerable. Masks are supposed to protect grandma.

Leandra Ashton (left) filmed as her mother Ylenia Angeli (right) was handcuffed and taken to Hull police station before later being de-arrested

'Due to lockdown we weren't able to visit her in her care home. Like many families we were kept apart. We weren't able to reassure her, feed her, touch her.

'We offered to be volunteers at the care home (my mum is a nurse), to work in the kitchen, laundry, to be care assistants... Anything so that we could see her.' 

Miss Ashton said her family had 'tried to go through all the official channels' by writing to MPs and Public Health England but nothing had been done.

She claimed that, after her grandmother was admitted to hospital during the first lockdown, relatives requested that she did not go back to the care home but she was neverthless discharged back to the home.

Miss Ashton called on relatives to be given key-worker status so they could visit regularly.

Leandra Ashton briefly appeared on Coronation Street during 2016 as Saskia Larson, the fiancee of Will Chatterton, played by Leon Ockenden 

Leandra Ashton (pictured, right, in the soap) began a lengthy post: 'So our final 'window visit' at the care home before lockdown didn't go according to plan'

'They need to be allowed into their relative's private bedroom to visit, feed and care for their loved ones,' she added.

'It is my hope that if enough of us live from our hearts, act from our hearts and speak our truth fearlessly from our hearts, this inhumane situation will come to an end.'

After the incident, Assistant Chief Constable Chris Noble, from Humberside Police, said: 'These are incredibly difficult circumstances and we sympathise with all families who are in this position.

'We responded to a report of an assault at the care home, who are legally responsible for the woman's care and were concerned for her wellbeing.

'As was our legal duty, we returned the lady to the home and a 73-year-old woman who was initially arrested was de-arrested and allowed to return home with her daughter.

'We understand that this is an emotional and difficult situation for all those involved and will continue to provide whatever support we can to both parties.' ends

No-one from the care home was available to comment last night.

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