Friday 20 April 2018

Doctor horrified by 'worst case he'd seen'

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

IT is the end of a gruesome tale of how a grandmother was found behind the doors of a seemingly normal family home, rotting in her own filth.

Evelyn Joel had been living with her daughter, Eleanor Joel (38), and Eleanor's partner, Jonathan Costen (40), in the couple's semi-detached house at Cluain Dara, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford.

There, the ambulance men uncovered grisly scenes after they responded to a call on New Year's Day, 2006.

A frail Evelyn was discovered lying in an upstairs bedroom. The 59-year-old grandmother, who suffered from a debilitating form of multiple sclerosis, had been abandoned in her own filth.

Judge O Donnabhain said the evidence in the case depicted "an almost medieval picture of neglect".

The smell hit the ambulance men from halfway up the stairs and they struggled to breathe as they walked inside the box room.

There were "nappies everywhere" inside the room. Excrement and flies were on the bed where Evelyn lay, unresponsive.

When the local GP, Dr Derek Forde, arrived, he was overcome by the stench. He said it was the worst case of neglect that he had ever seen in his 25-year career.

He told off Eleanor and Jonathan, who were downstairs in the house – but he said the seriousness of the matter just didn't seem to register with them.

The couple, who have waited seven years to learn their fate, listened to horrific evidence throughout two trials.

Nurse Mary Kelly described seeing larvae on the middle-aged woman's body.

The jury also heard how Eleanor had suffered from depression since the age of 13. Outwardly, she had learned to give a positive face but she was "cracking up inside" and unable to cope.

Irish Independent

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