Richard Wallach, 66, is accused of manslaughter by gross negligence, which he denies. He is pictured outside Liverpool Crown Court
A husband neglected his dying 61-year-old wife so badly she was found infested with flies and maggots and riddled with shockingly painful skin ulcers, a jury was told today.
Firefighters and paramedics were admitted to the home of Richard and Valerie Wallach in Toxteth, Liverpool and discovered a woman who was in ‘the worst condition of a living human they had ever seen’.
The mother-of-two was ‘confined to sit in an armchair substantially soiled with urine and faeces,’ prosecutor Richard Pratt told Liverpool Crown Court.
He said: ‘Although still alive…she was infested with flies and maggots.’
The court was told Mrs Wallach had a fungal infection which turned out to be cancer, while her legs were severely ulcerated and she appeared to be ‘overwhelmingly septic’.
Mrs Wallach was rushed to hospital on August 24, 2017, where her ‘condition shocked even experienced medical professionals,’ who found her barely able to communicate, the court was told.
Her health was so grave that experts decided her care was to be palliative to make her comfortable before her death.
Mrs Wallach survived 19 days before dying on September 12, 2017.
Earlier, when told by firefighters it might be necessary to remove his wife from their home by removing a window, Wallach objected as they were new and ‘he did not want them to be removed, because of the insurance’.
Then at the hospital, when a doctor informed Wallach the prognosis was grave, and that his wife was likely to die that day, the court was told he replied ‘Thanks for letting me know, but who is going to sort out my problem?
‘I have been constipated for weeks.’
The mum-of-two was ‘confined to sit in an armchair substantially soiled with urine and faeces,’ prosecutor Richard Pratt said. He told Liverpool Crown Court (above): ‘Although still alive…she was infested with flies and maggots’
Wallach, 66, is accused of manslaughter by gross negligence, which he denies.
Paramedics who attended noted the foul smell and build-up of rubbish inside, and decided to wear protective clothing while entering.
Mr Pratt said: ‘When eventually they were able to gain access, the conditions were truly appalling – there were a large quantity of bags of rubbish with rotting and mouldy food such that they had to wade through the bags to reach Valerie who was seated in an armchair in a bay window with the floor around her being completely covered in rubbish.
‘She appeared pale, struggling for breath and was vacant and unresponsive to the paramedics.
‘She had flies over her, her teeth were blackened and she appeared overweight.
‘They put an oxygen mask to her face, but realising that they could not move her on their own they called for back-up.
‘As they waited, they continued to try to clear away some of the rubbish bags which contained urine and faeces.
‘When they moved bags which had covered Valerie’s legs, they saw that her legs were swollen and covered in a thick brown slime.
‘The impression formed by the more experienced paramedic, Helen Roose, was that she had been sitting eating, urinating and defecating in the same chair for some time.’
The lawyer said: ‘It was the unenviable task of the firefighters to lift Valerie from the chair in which she had been sitting.
‘As they did so, she responded for the first time by screaming and becoming agitated.
‘As she was moved, [fire] officer O’Neill noticed that there was a lot of blood in the chair and bodily fluids and skin had also been left behind as she was moved.
‘The collective experience of the fire officers spanned well over 30 years- they had never seen a living human being in such a poor condition.’
Nurses also said they had never seen pressure sores like those on Mrs Wallach’s body.
The ulcers to the buttocks, backs of thighs and both heels were categorised as ‘Grade 4’ pressure sores, said to be ‘of the worst kind’, which revealed deep tissue damage extending down to the bone.
Mrs Wallach was rushed to hospital on August 24, 2017, where her ‘condition shocked even experienced medical professionals,’ who found her barely able to communicate, the court was told. The Royal Liverpool Hospital is pictured above
‘These would have been very painful, said Mr Pratt, ‘but also distressing due to the foul smelling leakage from the ulcers.
‘It would have taken weeks or months to reach this level.’
Wallach’s behaviour after his wife’s death was ‘strange’, a nurse noted, as he ‘did not appeared to be concerned or grieving for his wife – he seemed only to be concerned about his own position’.
When the bereavement officer at the Royal Liverpool Hospital offered to pay for a basic funeral package for his wife, he ‘became agitated that it did not include the provision of a car for him’.
Mr Pratt said: ‘It must have been obvious to anybody, including this defendant, that his wife’s confinement to a chair in which she ate, urinated and defecated, surrounded by bags of rubbish, in excruciating pain from sores he observed was seriously life threatening with an obvious risk of death if untreated.
‘And yet he did nothing at all to help her, or much more importantly to arrange help for her until is much, much too late.
‘His conduct observed by medical professionals and others at the time of her discovery and subsequent treatment reveals a man who only cared about himself and displayed a wholesale indifference and lack of care towards his wife.
‘That indifference, that lack of care is so striking in this case as to make it truly exceptionally bad – and thus a crime. And the crime is manslaughter.’
The Wallachs had been married for 15 years and had moved to Liverpool in 2003, having no visitors to the house, and no relatives other than their two children, the court was told.
The trial continues.