MS sufferer Evelyn Joel ‘was not washed for months’
Neglect death trial hears daughter's interview
Published 11/11/2011 | 05:00
A WOMAN suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS) who was living with her daughter had not been washed for more than three months before her death, a court was told.
Evelyn Joel (59) died in hospital on January 7, 2006 -- almost a week after ambulance staff found her lying in filth on her bed.
Mrs Joel had been living in a house in the Cluain Dara estate in Enniscorthy, with her daughter Eleanor Joel (37), and her daughter's partner John Costen (39). The pair, who are on trial at Wexford Circuit Criminal, both deny the unlawful killing of Mrs Joel due to neglect and reckless endangerment.
Mrs Joel died from pneumonia and complicating sepsis syndrome because of infected pressure sores from immobilisation caused by MS.
Yesterday, the jury viewed video tapes of the garda interviews conducted with Ms Joel after her mother's death.
She told gardai that she knew her mother had "stopped washing in September". She said she would bring the deceased a basin of water but her mother "wouldn't use it".
"My mother was never neglected by me," she told gardai during the interview.
Det Gda John Dwyer put it to Ms Joel that her mother was in a "terrible condition" when she was brought to hospital. He said it was the "worst case of neglect" that a senior staff nurse had seen.
Gda Dwyer asked Ms Joel if her mother became bedridden in November and if she had fallen out of bed twice. The accused agreed that on one occasion her mother had fallen out of bed and she stayed on the floor for some hours as she was unable to lift her.
When asked if she had not noticed how bad the smell was in her mother's bedroom, Ms Joel said it wasn't that bad.
"I knew she had a problem but I didn't think she was that bad," she said.
Gda Dwyer asked Eleanor Joel if she would accept that she neglected her mother in the two weeks over the Christmas period when she was "not eating" and "very sick", she replied: "I suppose I did, yeah."
Ms Joel broke down in tears during the interview, stating she had "got depressed". She said she found a lump on her breast and discovered she was pregnant and "couldn't cope with John shouting at night".
"I couldn't cope with everything," she said. "I wasn't minding her as well as I should have."
The trial before Judge Gerard Griffin continues on Tuesday.