Emma-Jane Kurtz (pictured) was found guilty wilfully neglecting her mother, who was found dead in her own faeces
A woman solicitor who specialised in fighting for vulnerable and elderly clients has been convicted of neglecting her own mother who died covered in her own urine and faeces.
Cecily Kurtz’s body was found in ‘horrifying’ conditions slumped on a sofa surrounded by filth and squalor in a room which stank of bodily waste.
Her 41-year-old lawyer daughter, Emma-Jane Kurtz, had denied not getting her mother medical attention or fulfilling her needs and wilfully neglecting the 79-year-old.
However a jury took just seven hours and four minutes to find her guilty by a 10-1 majority and she was warned she will be jailed.
Kurtz, who is currently caring for her father, Alan, bowed her head and sobbed in the dock as Judge Peter Ross told her she would inevitably be facing time behind bars.
She will be sentenced at the same court on April 27 in order for pre-sentence reports to be carried out.
‘I’m going to order a pre-sentence report, not because there’s any realistic possibility of a non custodial or indeed a non immediate custodial sentence,’ said Judge Ross.
Kurtz is likely to be struck off as solicitor as a result of the verdict, the court heard.
The jury at Oxford Crown Court heard during the two-week trial that Cecily’s husband would have faced charges over his wife’s death but because of extensive medical problems, the decision had been taken not to pursue the matter.
Oliver Saxby QC, prosecuting, told the jury of the horrifying neglect that beggared belief in the home Kurtz shared with her parents.
The court heard Cecily Kurtz was ’emaciated’ at the time of her death
‘Putting it brutally but accurately, this defendant allowed her mother to die in her own urine and faeces,’ he said.
‘It is no answer to say that her mother did not want help, that she always obeyed her mother, that there was nothing she could do.
‘Way before the paramedic found her dead in the shocking state she was in, it must have been blindingly obvious to her that she needed assistance.’
A Home Office pathologist who carried out a post-mortem examination described Cecily as being emaciated..
Emma-Jane Kurtz (pictured) specialises in ‘caring for and advising the elderly’
Cecily’s body was discovered on July 2, 2014, after her daughter called paramedics who found her in the squalid house in Blackwater, Didcot, Oxfordshire.
Kurtz said: ‘I told my mother that I wanted to get her medical help and she said “don’t you dare”.’
The court heard that Kurtz and her father had organised an appointment for Cecily Kurtz at the doctors for the day after she was found dead.
When asked why she had not pursued medical help further, Kurtz said: ‘I didn’t want to want to disobey her or upset her. I didn’t want to force her to do something she didn’t want to do.
‘She had previously been admitted to Fairmile psychiatric hospital, which she hated. She saw one woman try to strangle herself with her own bra in front of her eyes.’
The court went on to hear a frantic 999 call made by Kurtz on the night of July 2, 2014 when her mother was found not breathing on the sitting room sofa.
Kurtz told operators while an ambulance was despatched: ‘She has been very, very ill for some time.’
Paramedic Mark Lund who was the first emergency service personnel at the home, described Cecily’s body as being ‘in a state of considerable neglect.’
The jury was told Cecily had suffered from bipolar depression and obsessive compulsive disorder and her death was documented as a pulmonary thrombo-embolism – a blood clot which developed in her leg and moved to her lungs which blocked the pulmonary artery.
Kurtz, of Didcot, was a qualified solicitor, the court heard, who was working for the law firm in Reading, Berkshire. On her profile it states she specialises in ‘caring for and advising the elderly.’
She was full member of the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) and completed the Older Client Care in Practice (OCCP) Award, an externally accredited award which focuses on specialist client care skills to advise and support older and vulnerable clients, the website states.