Wednesday 1 March 2017

Daughter struggled as carer for MS sufferer, trial told

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

EVELYN JOEL's daughter found it "almost impossible" to become her mother's carer after years of seeing her as an authority figure, a court was told.

Eleanor Joel (37) and her partner Jonathan Costen (39), of Cluain Dara, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, both deny the unlawful killing of Mrs Joel (59) by neglect.

Sr Brid Ryan -- a trained counsellor -- yesterday told Wexford Circuit Criminal Court she first met Ms Joel in January 2006, shortly after Mrs Joel's death. Sr Ryan, who visited the accused at her house once a week initially, said it was "very difficult" for Ms Joel after her mother -- who suffered from MS -- died.

"She didn't want to go out because of the publicity and because of what people were saying to her," she said.

Sr Ryan said Ms Joel told her "about how protective" her mother was.

"She told me how her mother had always brought her to school. She (Mrs Joel) always said: 'I want my children to have what I didn't have,'" she added.

Sr Ryan said: "It was almost impossible for her (Ms Joel) to become the carer," adding that the deceased had power over her daughter emotionally.

Criminal

Sr Ryan said Ms Joel's children "were first in her life" and "herself mattered very little".

Earlier, Mary Finn-Gilbride told the court she was the director of public health nursing at Wexford General Hospital when a patient with MS had been admitted.

"I had to ascertain what level of contact we (the HSE) had with Mrs Joel," Ms Finn-Gilbride said.

The court heard how the hospital's public health nurses met a HSE solicitor before they went to the garda station to give statements. Ms Finn-Gilbride said she accompanied the nurses to the station as they "never had to do anything of this sort" before.

Consultant geriatrician Dr Joe Duggan told the court he conducted an inquiry for the HSE into Mrs Joel's death.

Around six doctors and nurses who saw Mrs Joel in the final days of her life were interviewed as part of the inquiry along with community welfare workers, occupational therapists, environmental health officers, 10 public health nurses, three directors of nursing and two social workers.

The court heard that Dr Duggan's report is still in draft form as he was told not to complete it with the criminal case pending. He said there was a "huge amount of work" in the report.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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