Jun 24, 2024

Daughter Found Guilty Of Manslaughter Avoids Prison For Neglect Death of Mother

Daughter Found Guilty Of Manslaughter Avoids Prison For Neglect Death of Mother
The court was presented with horrifying details of Noelene's death, revealing that she had been left covered in faeces and confined to a couch that had been turned into a makeshift toilet. [iStock].

Evidence heard in a Brisbane courtroom last week has brought to light the severe neglect suffered by an elderly woman left to die in appalling conditions. Julie Lynette Delaney, who left her mother Noelene in a faeces-covered home, sent alarming text messages to her son just hours before Noelene was found unresponsive.

Julie Lynette Delaney was sentenced to five years in prison for the manslaughter of her mother, Noelene. However, her sentence has been suspended, allowing her to remain free due to her ongoing rehabilitation efforts.

The court heard that Noelene was left covered in faeces, confined to a couch converted into a makeshift toilet. The grim details emerged after Delaney, 61, pleaded guilty, exposing the extent of the neglect her mother endured.

Scott Delaney, Julie’s son, was not implicated in any wrongdoing. He assisted by paying bills, driving his mother and grandmother to appointments, and delivering groceries.

Crown prosecutor Caroline Marco presented text messages exchanged between Julie and Scott on the morning of Noelene’s death, 18 September 2020. At 10 am, Julie texted her son: “I can’t get her up, she’s dead weight.” Scott replied: “Is she dead?” Julie responded that her mother was alive but had mumbled.

In the exchange, Scott urged Julie to hand wash Noelene and assured her he would visit later that afternoon. Julie’s final text at 3:30 pm was a plea for help, prompting Scott to rush to the property in Pimpama on the Gold Coast, arriving just after 5 pm.

Upon arrival, Scott found Noelene struggling to breathe, lying on the couch in a distressing state, covered in faeces and groaning in pain. The court heard that Scott yelled at his mother, demanding to know what she had done and insisting that she clean Noelene.

Emergency services were called, and paramedics found Noelene unresponsive. Despite their efforts, she went into cardiac arrest and could not be revived. The house was described as being in extreme squalor, with faeces, soiled towels, clothing, and bedding scattered throughout. There was no fresh food in the home, and Noelene’s bedroom was in a deplorable condition.

Noelene’s cause of death was determined to be sepsis resulting from malnutrition. She also suffered from multiple severe health issues, including untreated ulcers, Alzheimer’s disease, hypotension, pulmonary disease, and drug toxicity. The untreated ulcers contributed to her malnutrition, and Noelene weighed just 49 kg at the time of her death.

Julie Delaney claimed that she never mistreated her mother, stating that she found Noelene unconscious after returning from a doctor’s appointment. She also mentioned that she had not received adequate support from services such as Blue Care, despite evidence that she missed calls regarding her mother’s treatment.

Julie’s defence highlighted that she suffered from schizophrenia and had borderline cognitive functions with deficits across the board, significantly affecting her ability to care for Noelene properly. The court recognised these impairments, influencing the decision to suspend her sentence.

Supreme Court Justice Melanie Hindman acknowledged the system’s failure, which left Julie as the primary carer for her mother despite her impairments. Justice Hindman emphasised the severe suffering Noelene endured in her final days, highlighting the tragic circumstances of her death.

“Nobody would wish for a loved one to end their life in such a manner,” Justice Hindman said. “While your impairments do not wholly excuse your actions, they significantly impact your moral culpability.”

Justice Hindman concluded that Julie Delaney’s impairments and the systemic failures that left her as her mother’s primary carer were substantial factors in the case.

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