A Melbourne man and his de facto partner are likely to avoid jail despite admitting they failed to adequately care for his elderly mother, who was found dead in ‘squalid’ conditions.
The couple, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared in the County Court of Victoria on Wednesday.
They each pleaded guilty to reckless conduct endangering life by failing to provide adequate aged care or no medical attention, placing the man’s mother in danger of death.
The 83-year-old grandmother died in October 2013 from bronchopneumonia, with food stuck in her airways.
A Melbourne man and his de facto partner are likely to avoid jail despite admitting they failed to adequately care for his elderly mother, who was found dead in ‘squalid’ conditions (stock image)
Victoria Police previously said the epileptic woman was left to die in putrid conditions on a rotten mattress after suffering a stroke and countless seizures, and was covered in scabs and bruises.
A court hearing last year was told the man had bought a pair of earplugs from Bunnings to block out the sound of his mother screaming at night.
She was wearing a soiled nappy that hadn’t been changed in a week and her wounds were covered by old dressings – her skin embedded with dirt and fabric fibres.
Described by one doctor as a case of ‘elder abuse’, the woman had been removed from her nursing home in 2009 by her de facto daughter-in-law, who had applied for a carer’s allowance.
The family of eight received about $62,000 in government payments each year.
Before living with the family in 2009, the grandmother had regularly seen her doctor, making 132 visits over seven years.
But once she came into the care of her son and his partner, she visited the doctor only five times over the coming four years.
‘In that time, (the woman) did not receive any medical treatment, nor did she have any prescriptions filled,’ prosecutor Neill Hutton said.
Victoria Police previously said the epileptic woman was left to die in putrid conditions on a rotten mattress after suffering a stroke and countless seizures, and was covered in scabs and bruises (stock image)
Defence barrister Moya O’Brien said it was ‘astounding’ and ‘beggars belief’ that the daughter-in-law, who was borderline intellectually disabled, was deemed fit by the the federal government as a suitable carer for an elderly woman with complex medical needs.
She said this was despite the family having been investigated by the state Department of Health and Human Services since 2008, with the woman’s five children twice removed from her care.
The long-term unemployed couple and their children had previously lived in makeshift housing on a block owned by the woman after their home was destroyed by fire.
The couple will not be sentenced for the grandmother’s death.
The pair, which is on bail, will be assessed for community corrections orders on Thursday and are due to return before Judge John Carmody for sentence on October 5.