May 14, 2021

Queensland carer confesses she kept elderly woman in “squalor” – may avoid jail

Sad old woman

As reported by 7News, Queensland District Court heard this week that carer, Michelle Stitt, and the 78-year-old woman she cared for lived together on a property in Tarampa, Queensland, in conditions described in court as “diabolical” and “squalid”.

Stitt, who was paid by the state government to care for the woman between 2017 and 2019, pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to supply the necessaries of life.

When police attended the property in 2019, they were distressed by the unhygienic conditions they encountered, and were forced to put biohazard measures in place for their protection. The terrible conditions contributed to the older woman’s injuries, police alleged.

“Diabolical” conditions

Stitt’s own defence barrister described the condition of property where the two women lived as “diabolical”.

Judge Dennis Lynch QC, said, “The conditions were, perhaps to put it neatly, squalid.”

“This isn’t a case of someone living in luxury while the person they’ve been charged with caring for lives in these squalor conditions. 

“It was squalor all round.”

“This is, in my respectful submission, an example of a failing of not only the defendant, but a failing of the system,” said Wallis.

“She was left largely unchecked and things got really out of control when the defendant didn’t do anything about it.

“She says she tried but her efforts weren’t sufficient,” the court heard.

“She certainly doesn’t appear to have had the support that might have otherwise brought this to the attention of authorities earlier,” 7News reported.

Carer was struggling

Defence barrister Simon Lewis said Stitt struggled to care for herself, let alone care for anybody else.

“[There was] very little difference between the way my client was living, to the way in which the complainant was living,” he said.

Jail not suitable

Lewis said Stitt should receive a probation order rather than jail, and Wallis agreed jail would make it difficult for Stitt to recover from her mental health condition.

Stitt “desperately … needs support” and would “struggle” if sent to custody, Wallis said.

Stitt’s sentence will be handed down on May 20.

If you or someone you know is struggling to cope or having a difficult time, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. 

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  1. Why??? Why are we allowing people with mental health into our aged care?? I work with one, I can tell she has issues, we can tell she has issues BUT nothing gets done about it, should we now tread on thin ice because management refuses to deal with this. This woman mentioned in the email should be jailed, and her company also held responsible for this dear souls death, I’m sick to death of “oh, she has this disorder , he has this issue” a load of bollocks send her to jail. An elderly soul left over a long period of time to die,what the ……. is wrong. That’s why we’re all considering leaving because this system will never ever be fixed.

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