Monday 22 January 2018

Daughter found guilty of killing mum by neglect

A woman who was found guilty of the unlawful killing by neglect of her mother will be sentenced in February.

Eleanor Joel (38) and her partner Jonathan Costen (40), with an address of Cluain Dara, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, were found guilty following a trial that lasted two weeks at Wexford Circuit Criminal Court.

The couple had pleaded not guilty to the unlawful killing of Mrs Joel (59) by neglect on January 7, 2006.

Rosario Boyle, for Eleanor Joel, asked for the preparation of a psychological report in relation to her client and also the preparation of a probation and welfare report.

John O'Kelly, for Costen, requested the preparation of a probation and welfare report in relation his client.

Judge Sean O Donabhain was told there was no objection to bail under certain conditions.

Granting bail, Judge O Donabhain adjourned sentencing to February 11 next.

During the course of the evidence in a statement read into the trial, Jonathan Costen told gardai: "I am sorry for what happened to Evelyn. For my part, she was neglected by both of us. The neglect went on for two to three weeks. She was not cleaned, nor was her bed. I don't know about food."

Ambulance technician Ray Sinnott told the trial that when they called to the house on New Year's Day in 2006, Evelyn Joel was in bed. She looked very thin, very pale. When he pulled the sheets down he saw nappies and excrement around her lower body, while the mattress was stained.


Hospital technician Dermot O'Brien told of having to go to the bathroom with Evelyn Joel at St Patrick's Ward in Wexford General Hospital.

Having taken over from the ambulance crew, in the company of a nurse, he found that she was dirty from her hair to her teeth, arms and legs. As they held her in the bath trying to wash her she moaned in pain. Her nails and arms were black with dirt.

Dr Derek Forde, who attended the Joel house when the ambulance was called, said: "As I was going up the stairs there was an offensive smell. The smell in the room was overpowering.

"The blankets were not over her (Evelyn). She had some sort of nightdress but her condition was filthy," he added.

Dr Forde said there was no point in examining her as she was "close to death as could be".

Dr Forde said he spoke to the defendant Eleanor Joel and Jonathan Costen after he went downstairs.

"I said I was shocked to see someone in that condition. I was just horrified and could not believe it.

"They (accused) said she (Evelyn) would not do what they wanted," he added.

"I was shocked and angry. I contacted the Garda Siochana. I also rang Wexford General Hospital in advance, spoke to Dr Fitzgerald, as it was going to cause some shock, as I was shocked," Dr Forde said.

State pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy told the jury that Mrs Joel died through pneumonia brought about by complicating sepsis syndrome due to infected pressure sores due to immobilisation due to multiple sclerosis.


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