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Daughter, 53, who neglected her mother, 91, is jailed for four years

Therese Curphey, 53, is pictured leaving Liverpool Crown Court on July 3 last year

A daughter who neglected her dying 91-year-old mother even when she had broken ribs and deep pressure sores was today jailed for four years.

Therese Curphey, 53, lived in a rubbish-strewn semi-detached house worth £165,000 in West Derby, Liverpool, with her mother Theresa Curphey, who was said to have been in ‘unimaginable pain’. 

Therese finally called 999 in February 2017, telling the call handler her mother was ‘cold and clammy, had stopped talking and was making horrible noises’. 

Paramedics went to the house but initially struggled to gain entry to the bedroom because there were so many objects piled high behind the door.

Theresa was rushed to hospital but she died later that day. Therese has always denied responsibility for the death, but was convicted at Liverpool Crown Court of gross negligence manslaughter.

Therese, who last week screamed, ‘How could you do this to me?’ at jurors when they returned a guilty verdict, today decided not to come up to the dock.

The daughter wrote a six-page letter to the judge explaining her views on the decision of the jury and ‘the impact and consequences for her’.

Addressing an empty dock, Judge Andrew Menary QC said: ‘Nothing could have prepared the paramedics for the scene they found when they responded to the emergency call made by you that morning.

The rubbish-strewn house in West Derby, Liverpool, where the woman's mother was found

The rubbish-strewn house in West Derby, Liverpool, where the woman’s mother was found

‘After tunnelling through the years of hoarded rubbish they found in an upstairs bedroom, the abandoned soul that was your mother. 

‘She was lying on her back on the floor next to the bed.  She was making noises and wailing sounds described as strange animal noises. 

Curphey was jailed for four years after the judge said an appropriate punishment could only be achieved by immediate imprisonment

Curphey was jailed for four years after the judge said an appropriate punishment could only be achieved by immediate imprisonment

‘The bottom half of her body was wet with urine and covered in faeces. There was little the paramedics could do at the home and Mrs Curphey was taken to hospital where she died later on that day.

‘The pathology and medical evidence the jury heard paints a truly shocking picture of the final week or so of Mrs Curphey’s life.

‘Some of this medical evidence was challenged by you, yourself – but I am sure that the broad conclusions of the experts are accurate and correct.

‘The evidence supports the conclusion that a week or more before her death your mother fell over in the bedroom onto the floor where she was found – and in falling she broke three ribs.

‘At the time, you were your mother’s sole carer. She relied on you for general day to day activities and food and water.

‘If you were fulfilling any part of that role, then you could not have failed to be aware of your mother’s worsening condition over the following week or so.

‘During that period she developed pressure sores across large parts of her upper and lower back, so deep in parts that the underlying bone was visible and infected. 

‘Areas of abscesses had formed around the broken ends of her ribs and ultimately her body was overwhelmed by sepsis. She must have been in unimaginable pain.’

The court was told the pair had lived reclusive lives, in ‘voluntary seclusion’ from the rest of the world in two houses on the same road.

The judge said: ‘The living conditions were appalling – with no central heating, little or no running water, one functioning toilet, no proper washing facilities, and only a combination microwave to prepare food.

‘By any measure, neither house was fit for human habitation. No one doubts that you loved your mother or that for the most part, you did not want any harm to come to her. 

‘But I have no doubt that your attitude towards Mrs Curphey became less tolerant as her health failed and her dementia became progressively worse.’

Judge Menary said an appropriate punishment could only be achieved by an immediate imprisonment, and so jailed her for four years.

She will serve half that tariff and will serve the second part of her sentence out of custody, on licence.

John McDermott, QC, defending, said his client had reached her 50s without knowing she herself suffered from autism and explained how she would avoid any socialising or contact with the outside world ‘because of her multi-faceted condition’.

The barrister said: ‘There’s no explanation I could give to the court. In her early 20s, post traumatic stress syndrome hit, with anxiety and depression a feature of her early life.’

He added: ‘The extraordinary way in which she and her mother lived must make the court scratch its head for a explanation.’

Mr McDermott detailed his client’s ‘hoarding disorder’, and how the ‘utter squalor depicted in the photographs will remain with the jury for a long time and is completely inexplicable.’

Ms Curphey also now suffers from cancer, he added, and has been told by medics that there is a 50 to 60 per cent risk that it could return.


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