A CARE worker who repeatedly shoved a disabled client to the floor in a “sustained” assault has narrowly avoided a prison sentence.

Theodore Goodridge used two hands to shove his victim, who has Down’s syndrome and is cared for at a home in Southampton.

As the man attempted to get up, Goodridge shoved him down again.

He was then seen by a witness to kick out towards his victim – but did not make contact.

Last week, magistrates sentenced Goodridge to a community order, but said 23-year-old had been “very close” to being sent to prison.

Southampton Magistrates’ Court heard how Goodridge was employed at Delrose Residential Care home in Portsmouth Road at the time of the assault in January last year.

Prosecutor Rachel Standish said the incident was seen by an employee in a neighbouring care home, who was watching through a window.

Ms Standish said: “She was in another care home around 9.15pm on January 30 when she went to close the curtains and saw two males in a room. She said one (the victim) was visibly distressed while the other pulled him about and pushed him to the floor.

“As he tried to get up, he (Goodridge) pushed him down with two hands to the back of his shoulders. She called the police.”

Ms Standish said the victim was “profoundly disabled” and was unable to give evidence as he was non-verbal, while the witness described the incident as “upsetting”.

In mitigation, Peter Humphries said Goodridge was a man of good character and the incident had taken place after a 14-hour shift.

He added that Goodridge had “lost his cool”.

Goodridge denied one count of assault but was found guilty after a trial at Southampton Magistrates’ Court.

He was given a 12-month community order by magistrates and ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

Lead magistrate David Boniface said: “This case doesn’t make for pleasant reading.

“You were a responsible person in a position of care for a victim who was vulnerable.

“You were very, very close to going to prison, you need to understand that.”

Goodridge, of Peel Close, Romsey, was also ordered to complete 15 rehabilitation activity requirement days and pay court costs totalling £705.

The care home, which was rated ‘requires improvement’ in its last Care Quality Commission report, was previously run by Integra, but is now operated by Lifeways, a London-based provider which care sfor more than 200 clients.

A spokesperson for Lifeways said: “Mr Goodridge was suspended from duty immediately following the incident, and has not worked in any Lifeways services since then.”

A disciplinary hearing for Goodridge was due to be held this week.