Corrie actress’s nurse mother tells of desperate battle to see star’s dementia-stricken grandmother


The mother of a Coronation Street actress has spoken about the emotional moment in which she burst into a care home and hugged her dementia-stricken mother for the first time in nine months – leading police to arrest her.

Ylenia Angeli, 73, was detained by police on suspicion of assault yesterday after trying to take her 97-year-old mother Tina Thornborough out of a care facility and bring her home before lockdown.

She was later filmed in the back of the police care by her actress daughter Leandra Ashton – who starred in the ITV soap Coronation Street in 2016.

In an emotional interview with This Morning today, the pair spoke about the incident, with Mrs Angeli – a retired nurse – saying she ‘couldn’t bear’ to be apart from her mother any longer. 

Speaking on the ITV show, she said: ‘I saw my mother through the window and it broke my heart. I just wanted to hold her and tell her that I love her.

‘I requested to see her in person and we were taken out into the court yard and I was told my request was denied.

‘I couldn’t bear it for one moment longer. I had a bunch of flowers and I requested they be given to her and they opened the door slightly.

‘I pushed my way through in held her in my arms for the first time in nine months and we cried and kissed.’ 

Ylenia Angeli (pictured right with daughter Leandra Ashton), 73, was detained by police on suspicion of assault yesterday after trying to take her 97-year-old mother Tina Thornborough out of a care facility and bring her home before lockdown.

Leandra Ashton filmed officers as they arrested her mother, 73, before putting her dementia-hit grandmother (pictured) into the patrol car to be sent back to the facility

Leandra Ashton filmed officers as they arrested her mother, 73, before putting her dementia-hit grandmother (pictured) into the patrol car to be sent back to the facility

Ylenia Angeli, 73, was detained by police after forcing her way into the home and removing her mother, Tina Thornborough (pictured), who she had not hugged for nine months due to Covid

She added: ‘A member of staff was trying to take the wheelchair off me and all the while they were saying “I’m going to call the police, I’m going to call the police”.

‘It was dreadful and I’m speaking for every single person in the same position as us, we cannot touch or cannot see our loved ones and they are deteriorating in front of eyes.’ 

It comes after Mrs Angeli was detained by police after forcing her way into the home and removing her mother who she had not hugged for nine months because of the pandemic.

In distressing footage posted online, Mrs Angeli can be seen being handcuffed and detained in the back of a police car in Market Weighton, East Yorkshire, while her frail mother looks on.

Humberside Police later said they had been responding to reports of an assault and Mrs Angeli was subsequently de-arrested and allowed home. Mrs Thornborough was later returned to the care home.

Miss Ashton, 42, who posted the video of the incident on Facebook, could be heard sobbing on the footage and saying ‘everyone needs to see how ridiculous this situation is’.

During the live This Morning interview, Miss Ashton called for change over the rules.

She said: ‘We are not alone in this, there are thousands of families in the same position. These rules that are in place, in order to protect and to save need to be fundamentally challenged by us all.

‘This is having an impact on every aspect of life and well-being.

‘This whole idea of a focus on staying safe and saving lives, this isn’t any more about staying safe and saving lives, this is about having a life, and those people in care homes are being denied a life.’

During another interview, on BBC Radio Five Live, she called  for relatives of people in care homes to be given key worker status to allow them to see their relatives face-to face.

She said: ‘This is about a broad conversation and at the moment we are so focused on Covid and as dreadful as that illness may be for a small number of our population. 

‘There are so many illnesses out there that are killing more, dementia being one of them.’

Miss Ashton appeared on Coronation Street during 2016 as Saskia Larson, the fiancee of Will Chatterton, played by Leon Ockenden. 

What are the rules on visiting care homes during new lockdown? 

Regulations state that it is reasonably necessary for someone to leave their home to visit a person staying in a care home if they are a member of that person’s household, a close family member or a friend.

Guidance issued by the Department of Health and Social Care lists a number of ways care homes could allow visitors, including having designated visitor pods with floor-to-ceiling screens and separate entrances.

Outdoor visits with one other person are permitted, provided the area can be accessed by the loved one without going into the main building.

Visits at windows, “where the visitor doesn’t need to come inside the care home or where the visitor remains in their car, and the resident is socially distanced” are also allowed.

Video calls between residents and family members, supported by a multimillion-pound distribution of 11,000 iPad devices to care homes, are also encouraged.

The department said plans are currently being developed to allow specific family and friends to visit care homes supported by a testing programme, although trials will not begin until later in November.

During the video of her mother being arrested, the yoga teacher says: ‘My nan, my 97-year-old nan who we have taken from her care home because we haven’t seen her for nine months and is now being taken back by force to her care home.

‘My mother has been arrested, she is a nurse, a fully qualified nurse wishing to care for her own mother, and we have an incredible use of police time to take my 97-year-old grandmother back into her care home where she is deteriorating because we have not been able to see her for nine months.’

Speaking directly to her bewildered grandmother, she adds: ‘Nan, I love you and will fight for you.’ 

Mrs Angeli later said: ‘Tried to visit my 97-year-old mother today and was ARRESTED as I could no longer bear her deterioration and forced my way into the home.

‘I was able to put my arms around my mother and tell her how much I loved her. 

‘The home called the police!!! I was released eventually as the police said it was due to emotions running too high. What are we coming to?

‘We seriously need to fight this on all fronts! I’m 73 and was handcuffed and put into a police car and told I was to be taken to the police station.

‘This has definitely got to stop. The collateral damage to families is more than devastating. It’s totally destructive.

‘We will continue to fight with a fierce love for all our loved ones incarcerated in ‘care’ homes.’

The incident is believed to have taken place outside the Northgate House care home on Tuesday.

It highlights the plight of families and care home residents who’ve been separated and unable to have any physical contact since the coronavirus crisis began. 

Mrs Angeli said: ‘I took my mum because I want to care for her myself. I want to be the one who feeds her, hugs her, puts my arms around her and everything else.

‘If she’s at home with me I can see her everyday and give her everything she needs. I’m a trained nurse, I had my own care home so I know what I’m doing.’

Speaking about the arrest, she said: ‘I just thought, ‘This cannot be happening,’ it was absolutely horrible.’

Miss Ashton had gone to the home with her mother for their final ‘window visit’.

She said: ‘When I saw my nan through the glass I started crying and my mum asked if we could bring nan out so we could see her without the glass. They said no.

‘She pushed this woman out of the way quite lightly to get to my nan so she could hug her. My mum then wheeled my nan around to see me.

Ylenia Angeli, 73, was taken to Hull police station on Tuesday before later being de-arrested

Ylenia Angeli, 73, was taken to Hull police station on Tuesday before later being de-arrested

Leandra Ashton, who shared this photo of her previous visit to her grandmother in the care home, said they hadn't been able to see her in nine months due to coronavirus restrictions

Leandra Ashton, who shared this photo of her previous visit to her grandmother in the care home, said they hadn’t been able to see her in nine months due to coronavirus restrictions 

‘We were outside and we just thought, ‘Let’s keep going,’ it wasn’t pre-meditated. My nan was absolutely fine, she was enjoying it all and just really, really pleased to see us. 

‘As we were working out what the hell we were going to do the police came and blocked us in.’

Yesterday the Government said care home visits could take place during the new national lockdown, but only outdoors, through windows or in personal protect equipment covered pods.

Posting on Facebook about her struggles to see her grandmother, Rada-trained actress Miss Ashton wrote in August how Mrs Thornborough had deteriorated as a result of not having physical contact with her family for five months.

Sharing a photograph of herself holding her grandmother’s hands, she wrote: ‘It was the first time I’ve touched her in five months. In that time she has deteriorated.

‘She has dementia. She is confused at the best of times. Now she is weaker, has lost weight and has ended up in hospital.’

Pleading for rules on visiting care home residents to be relaxed, she wrote: ‘Lockdown was supposed to protect the most vulnerable. Masks are supposed to protect grandma.

Leandra Ashton

Ylenia Angeli

Leandra Ashton (left) filmed as her mother Ylenia Angeli (right) was handcuffed and taken to Hull police station before later being de-arrested

Humberside Police officers told Miss Ashton that her mother would be taken to Hull police station before they began negotiating over taking her grandmother back to the care home

Humberside Police officers told Miss Ashton that her mother would be taken to Hull police station before they began negotiating over taking her grandmother back to the care home

‘Due to lockdown we weren’t able to visit her in her care home. Like many families we were kept apart. We weren’t able to reassure her, feed her, touch her.

‘We offered to be volunteers at the care home (my mum is a nurse), to work in the kitchen, laundry, to be care assistants… Anything so that we could see her.’ 

Miss Ashton said her family had ‘tried to go through all the official channels’ by writing to MPs and Public Health England but nothing had been done.

She claimed that, after her grandmother was admitted to hospital during the first lockdown, relatives requested that she did not go back to the care home but she was neverthless discharged back to the home.

Miss Ashton called on relatives to be given key-worker status so they could visit regularly.

Leandra Ashton briefly appeared on Coronation Street during 2016 as Saskia Larson, the fiancee of Will Chatterton, played by Leon Ockenden

Leandra Ashton briefly appeared on Coronation Street during 2016 as Saskia Larson, the fiancee of Will Chatterton, played by Leon Ockenden 

Leandra Ashton (pictured, right, in the soap) began a lengthy post: 'So our final 'window visit' at the care home before lockdown didn't go according to plan'

Leandra Ashton (pictured, right, in the soap) began a lengthy post: ‘So our final ‘window visit’ at the care home before lockdown didn’t go according to plan’

‘They need to be allowed into their relative’s private bedroom to visit, feed and care for their loved ones,’ she added.

‘It is my hope that if enough of us live from our hearts, act from our hearts and speak our truth fearlessly from our hearts, this inhumane situation will come to an end.’

After the incident, Assistant Chief Constable Chris Noble, from Humberside Police, said: ‘These are incredibly difficult circumstances and we sympathise with all families who are in this position.

‘We responded to a report of an assault at the care home, who are legally responsible for the woman’s care and were concerned for her wellbeing.

‘As was our legal duty, we returned the lady to the home and a 73-year-old woman who was initially arrested was de-arrested and allowed to return home with her daughter.

‘We understand that this is an emotional and difficult situation for all those involved and will continue to provide whatever support we can to both parties.’ ends

No-one from the care home was available to comment last night.

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