Care home accuses son of KIDNAP after he took his mother home for Christmas Day – to give her a break from singing Santa
Sitting down to Christmas lunch with his 104-year-old mother Enid, Nicholas Zelle was surprised to hear a knock on the door.
He was even more surprised to open it and see two police officers – who had rushed round to investigate the whereabouts of the elderly lady.
Mr Zelle, 69, then learned that staff at the care home where his mother resides had called the emergency services after discovering she had disappeared.
Nicholas Zelle was accused of kidnap by staff at the Manor Care Home in Taunton after taking his mother Enid home on Christmas Day
Enid Zelle pictured beside the annoying singing Santa decoration that her son saved her from for Christmas
Yesterday he accused them of being heavy handed in their response to him taking her out for the day after she had complained of being disturbed by a noisy “singing Santa” decoration.
The retired music teacher said he has been accused of “kidnapping” his own mother, who uses a wheelchair and has dementia, after he drove her home so they could spend part of Christmas Day together.
He claims staff called police and two officers were dispatched on Christmas morning to “rescue” Mrs Zelle and return her to The Manor Care Centre near Taunton, Somerset.
Mr Zelle said: “I could not believe it when I answered the door and saw two policemen standing there.
“It is ludicrous; there is no reason why I should not be able to take my mother out on Christmas Day. I have taken her out for drives before and it has never been a problem.
The annoying singing Father Christmas decoration that caused the row at the care home
“They have more or less accused me of kidnapping her. It has made this the worst Christmas my mum has had in her 104 years.”
Mr Zelle said his mother had complained about the “singing Santa” decoration, a motion-sensor toy that had been placed near her door.
“Every time someone went past, the wretched toy would burst into Jingle Bells, which it would sing twice,” he said. “The thing was going off many times an hour.
“I got fed up with this and went and put the toy on the reception desk to see if they could stand it, but it was eventually put back near us.
“As it was Christmas Day I did not want to create a fuss about it, so I decided to take my mother back to my house, just for half an hour.
“She can”t really eat Christmas dinner, but I thought it would be nice to take her home for a visit.”
Staff at the Manor say that Mrs Zelle was taken away without the required permission
Mr Zelle drove his mother the 11 milesto his home in North Curry but says that within five minutes of their arrival the police knocked at his door.
“They said they needed to call an ambulance to take my mother back to the care home,” he said. “They did not threaten me with arrest and looked quite sheepish about it.
“I explained I did not think I was doing anything wrong. I was not angry with them, I just could not believe they had been called out.”
Eventually Mr Zelle drove his mother back to the care home.
A Court of Protection order exists on his mother, made under the Mental Capacity Act after a dispute with a family member. But Mr Zelle says it states only that Mrs Zelle should reside at the care centre, and does not prevent him taking her out.
A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said: “We were called by the care home to check on the welfare ofa resident who had been taken out of the home against the ruling of a court order. She was returned to the care home shortly after.”
Staff at the care home defended the decision to call the police, claiming they had a “responsibility” to alert the authorities.
A statement said: “In general residents are free to come and go freely but in certain circumstances, where their health is at risk and on GP advice, planning is required.
“In this instance as the resident was removed from the home without prior warning, the team were very worried and had a responsibility to alert the authorities to ensure the resident”s safe return.
“Many people, including the courts andthe resident”s GP, are working closely together to ensure the best outcome for the resident.”