A care worker said she was driven to the brink of suicide and shunned by people during a nightmare three and a half years before being cleared of abuse allegations.
Emma Morse was alleged to have stood on the feet of a 90-year-old woman, grabbed two others by the wrists and slapped a dementia sufferer on the back.
But the Crown Prosecution Service has now decided to drop the case – three and a half years after her arrest.
Emma, 51, says she has faced a living hell while waiting to be cleared and the shame and stress of the investigation left her considering taking her own life.
She lost her job and says she was shunned by former friends, pointed at in the street and subjected to hateful comments on social media.
She said: “I can’t describe the stress I’ve been through for three and half years. It was the most horrendous experience of my life.
“At one time, I walked into the sea at Long Rock fully dressed and wanted to end my life. I stayed there for an hour and a half.
“After that I had counselling. People ask me how I got through it, and I’d say because I knew I was innocent and through the support of my family.”
Emma, from Penzance, Cornwall, was suspended from her job as a carer at the town’s Ponsandane Residential Home in January 2013 after the abuse allegations.
She denied all subsequent charges and stood trial alongside the home‘s facility’s manager Robert Rogers and human resources director Anna Dalziel in January.
Mr Rogers and Ms Dalziel were cleared of any wrongdoing at the trial and Emma then faced a retrial, due to take place this month.
But after reviewing the evidence the CPS has decided there is no case to answer.
Emma added: “I have been through hell and back and it’s totally devastated my confidence with people.
“I feel bitter for what this has put my family through. There’s a girl I know in Penzance who wrote on Facebook I should have been drowned at birth or never born.
“I’ve never done anything wrong or would ever say anything like that in my whole life.
“I would get pointed at in the street, ‘That’s her’, people would say.”
Emma, who was a carer for 24 years, said she would never return to her old profession.
She added: “For 24 years I’ve been a carer. I loved my job. I didn’t do it for money, I did it as a vocation. I love people and the elderly.
“I’ll never be a carer again – not after this. I would never want my job back.”
Stephen Keely, chairman of Ponsandane owners Swallowcourt, said the care home manager was obliged to report any allegations of abuse.
He said: “The management of Swallowcourt carried out its own investigation and concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support the view that Emma had been guilty of an offence.
“The police clearly took a different view and then took over two years to decide to prosecute and a further 18 months approximately to decide not to proceed.
“I believe the length of time taken by the police to unsuccessfully prosecute this case was unacceptable and I believe that the evidence was not sufficient to justify proceeding.
“I believe the publicity relating to abuse cases has created in some instances a ‘witch hunt’ approach by authorities, and this case smacks of that.
“I also believe that the prosecution lawyers should be the subject to similar criticism and that it is a disgrace for a prosecution of this nature to take three and a half years to be concluded.
“I have every sympathy for Emma in her distress because of the unjust process, which she has had to endure.”