Jan 10, 2022

Elderly man charged after breaking his partner out of nursing home

Missing couple Carol Lisle and Ralph (Terry) Gibbs

An elderly man who took his 84-year-old partner out of her Western Australian nursing home without permission and fled to the Northern Territory border faced court last week. 

Police claim that 80-year-old Ralph Gibbs put his partner’s health at risk when he assisted 84-year-old Carole Lisle into his car and fled her nursing home without permission on January 2.

It is believed that Ms Lisle would have been incapable of consenting to leave the nursing home herself due to cognitive impairment.

After fleeing Ms Lisle’s Mandurah nursing home, the pair drove through outback WA until they were eventually found by police last Tuesday.

It is believed that Mr Gibbs’ decision to take Ms Lisle from her nursing home was pre-planned, but police alleged that Mr Gibbs did not consider the high level of medical care that Ms Lisle requires when the couple made their escape.

Ms Lisle, who is living with Parkinson’s disease and dementia, required urgent medical attention after being located by police.

Carol Lisle found
Carol Lisle being cared for by a police officer after being located near Warakurna WA. Credit: WA Police

Mr Gibbs was denied bail and placed in custody after being charged with deprivation of liberty and endanger life, health or safety of a person.

He was set to appear in the Perth Magistrates Court last Wednesday, but the outcome of his court proceedings have not yet been disclosed.

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  1. At their age I am sure they did not realise health problem it would cause, even though she has dementia and just wanted to be with each other. Let’s face it, at 84 years old, I think they would enjoy their remaining years together instead of siting in an aged care facility just staring at the walls. I just hope the Judicial System takes this into account and does not gaol this poor old man for wanting to be with his partner. It is sad that he cannot be with her where she is living. I know what I am talking about as my husband had dementia at 65 years of age after a bad car accident. Drs suggested nursing home straight away, but he didn’t want to go to one, I looked after him for 4 and half years alone without family, he had severe incontinence, wearing nappies and showering and dressing him, he went into a nursing home for the last 6mths of his life, passed away 71. Unfortunately, it is hard to know what the best thing to do in cases like this.

  2. This is outrageous and why we need to have a global discussion about dementia and our mental health crisis. No bail for this man? How cruel and it is shameful to put this man in jail. Plus, the person writing the article makes it sound like she has 2 diagnosis. Parkinson’s and Dementia… This makes things harder for people to understand when people who publish or produce information don’t clarify that Parkinson’s is a type of dementia just like colon cancer is the type of cancer. We should start with basic information like dementia is a term for neurological diseases and Alzheimer, Lewy body, Parkinson’s, Frontal Temporal, CTE, and over 50 other types of dementia have been identified. Most start 15-20 years before a diagnosis happens. Anyone over 80 years old is more than likely not making the sharpest or best decisions. It take a different mindset for change to happen. We need more Love and understanding. LOVE WINS!

  3. This is BS. He might have had many reasons for taking her with him. Do elderly people have no rights ? He certainly should NOT be charged. Maybe have a good look at her care situation.

  4. The rules are in place for good reason,if this chap was her Enduring Power of Attorney or guardian all he needed to do was tell the facility that he was taking her out. The story suggests that the chap is her partner but it’s pretty obvious she has children or some other guardian that doesn’t recognise this.
    Clearly he had no legal standing to remove her and as such, despite his best intention, his actions were illegal.

  5. True Love at it’s finest. Although not the best decision in his 84 years of life, love does truly conquer all. How terribly sad, that he thought this was his only option. Was he locked out of the nursing home due to Covid, was he desperate to see her and had he waited long enough.
    My Mum is in a nursing home, with dementia, and I know how hard it is for me ( 58 year old daughter) when I cannot see her because the home is in lockdown.. it is gut wrenchingly sad. I feel for this man, he only wanted to be with his beloved wife. Now he is in jail with no bail, charged and facing court – this world has gone completely mad. Where is his emotional support , life without his wife would be lonely and hard.

  6. It doesn’t say he was locked out of the nursing home but they obviously want to be together .
    He broke the law , yes but help make it right that they can be together .surely at that age he coukd love in a nursing home and still have his freedom to go to the shopping centre and do things and still come back to his partner. At keast then she coukd have the help she needs st the same time . The elderly can be like young children and not think things through properly. When desperate we do silly things. It doesn’t realy say why he took her . Did he feel she was mistreated not happy want to go had they discussed this early in the peace. Who knows .

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