Ricochet News

How an 84-year-old patient was brutally tortured at East London care home

MAY 6, 2015
How an 84-year-old patient was brutally tortured at East London care home

Footage from a hidden camera has revealed how a nurse, at an upmarket retirement home in East London, brutally punched and kicked an 84-year-old woman, Hope Shepherd, who is a resident at the home. Shepherd reportedly suffered severe injuries including a black eye and extensive bruising to her body from the abuse.

According to the Daily Dispatch, Shepherd last year suffered an unexplained broken arm, which led to her family installing a secret camera in her room as she was unable to speak of or write about what was happening to her.

On Tuesday, Shepherd’s caregiver, Ncediswa Mkenkcele, 40, appeared in the East London Magistrate’s Court facing charges of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. She was not asked to plead and the case was postponed until June 5 for further investigation.

Hidden camera

According to the paper, the hidden camera was placed inside a television set in Shepherd’s bedroom on December 31 by her daughter Bernice Robertson, who became suspicious of her mother’s constant and unexplained injuries.

When visiting her mother in February, Robertson noticed her mother had a black eye and immediately downloaded the footage. Clips show the assaults, which took place on February 3 and 23.

In the video, seen by the Daily Dispatch, Shepherd is assaulted with open hands, fists and elbows by a caregiver. In one clip the caregiver stops the assaults to close the door and curtains in Shepherd’s room before she continues assaulting the frail pensioner, even dishing out a fly-kick to the stomach.

Shepherd’s feeble attempts to fight back are met with more violence. She is grabbed by her hair and  roughly thrown down on her bed, where the assault continues. In another clip the caregiver is seen smashing her elbow into the elderly woman’s head and back.

The footage also shows the woman taking a deodorant can and bashing it against Shepherd’s head, before spraying its contents into a breathing hole in Shepherd’s throat. The elderly woman suffers from throat cancer.


Mkenkcele reportedly showed little emotion during her court appearance. She was arrested at her home in Duncan Village after Cambridge police viewed the hidden camera footage.

Robertson has since removed her mother from the home where she had been paying R14000 a month for her care.

Berea Gardens Retirement Foundation, which manages the home has apparently launched an internal investigation.

Mkenkcele has since resigned from the home after the footage surfaced.