A CARE worker who ill treated a patient hit her with her own care plan, a judge heard this afternoon.

April Johnstone, aged 51, spent most of the time on her mobile instead of looking after a woman with severe learning difficulties.

Johnstone lied to relatives that she had taken her swimming and falsely described to bosses how they had spent the day doing art.

Johnstone, of Springfield Close, Neyland, admitted ill treatment by a care worker.

Tracy Irene Davies, a second worker caring for the same victim also admitted ill treating her but entirely separately from what Johnstone had been doing.

Johnstone was jailed for 18 months and Davies, of Trafalgar Road, Milford Haven, for four months.

Stephen Rees, prosecuting, told Swansea crown court how both women worked for Tyn Y Coed care and had responsibility for a Begely woman who had the communication skills of an 18 month old baby.

Johnstone was supposed to be a team leader.

Fellow carers became concerned and one of them, Laura Graham, began to take notes and make recordings.

Mr Rees said Johnstone was seen to force the woman to go to bed before 6.15pm each day and ordered not to leave her room.

On occasions she was locked in the room.

Johnstone was heard shouting at the woman and was seen to slap her.

During a visit to the Kiln Park holiday centre near Tenby Johnstone was caught on CCTV cameras slapping the woman on her arms.

Davies admitted ill treatment but denied ever hitting the victim. She had, she said, overreacted "on a couple of occasions."

Davies said she was unaware that Johnstone was acting in a similar manner.

Mr Rees said the management at Tyn Y Coed took action immediately they were approached by Miss Graham and called in the police.

Judge Geraint Walters told Johnstone her offending amounted to cruelty and not just neglect.

"You were supposed to care for her but frankly did nothing apart from abuse her.

"Most civilised people would not behave like that to an animal. You knew she would never spill the beans," he added.

Judge Walters commended Laura Graham and described her as a "young, principled and fearless whistleblower."

"I suspect she has a successful career ahead of her as a true carer," he added.

"If not for her how much longer would that woman had suffered?"

Judge Walters said he had a duty get across how seriously the courts took these cases.