Daughter in neglect case - I tried to help mum

Last updated 05:00 05/04/2014
Jo-Ann Quinn

JO-ANN QUINN: Said she was following her mother's wishes by not seeking medical help.

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The woman convicted of neglecting her sick mother at their home in Napier has defended her actions, saying she did the best she could.

Jo-Ann Quinn, 51, said yesterday that she tried to help but her strong-willed mother, Maureen, refused medical care.

"Warmth was not missing [from] her life. She was offered a nursing home, but she chose to stay in her home with the surroundings of her own, of which she was in total control."

Quinn said she was "emotionally drained" by the trial, and said it was like going through the deaths of her mother and father all over again.

Napier District Court was told this week that when medical staff were called to the Quinn house on November 15, 2011, they found Maureen, 82, dirty, smelly and with maggot-infested leg ulcers. She was taken to hospital immediately but succumbed to pneumonia six weeks later.

Medical staff said it was the worst case of neglect they had seen.

Fibres of the blanket covering her had become embedded in her leg wounds. Paramedics found her covered in blue dye from the couch and dried faeces.

Quinn moved back to the family home to care for her mother after her father, Noel, died in 2006. A year later her mother signed a single-page will, leaving all her belongings to Jo-Ann.

Other family members said their mother was left to "fester" on the couch.

But Jo-Ann says she did her best to care for her mother, who was fiercely independent.

She wanted to be in her home, among her ornaments and looking out over the garden she loved. She had lived in the state house for 60 years and raised eight children there.

Maureen ran her own house, made her own decisions and liked her privacy. She had rejected home care.

Jo-Ann disputed claims that she cut her mother off from the outside world. She had full access to the phone but at times did not want to be disturbed, she said.

The curtains were kept closed to shield Maureen's sensitive eyes from the light and the windows were never nailed shut, as grand-daughter Trena Quinn claimed, she said.

Housing New Zealand confirmed this, saying there was no damage or vandalism to the property reported. The rent was paid on time and it was clean and tidy when inspectors visited, a spokeswoman said.

Quinn said Maureen's grandchildren did not take the time to visit.

Judge Jonathan Down said, when convicting her of failing to provide the necessaries of life, that she did "too little too late" for her mother. Quinn will be sentenced next month.

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- The Dominion Post

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