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Police worker who left starving mum to die in squalor jailed
A Guiseley police worker who allowed her 82-year-old mother to starve to death in “almost indescribable squalor” has been jailed for 30 months.
West Yorkshire Police employee Angela Pearson, 53, was convicted by a jury of the manslaughter of Eileen Pearson by gross negligence.
Preston Crown Court had heard how she had taken her mother, who had been dead for some time, to a hospital ten miles away last May in the vain hope that the state of their home would not be discovered.
The jury did not accept Pearson’s defence that she suffered Diogenes syndrome, also known as senile squalor syndrome, which is characterised by such actions as compulsive hoarding of rubbish. But her mother was a sufferer of the condition, he added.
Bed-ridden Mrs Pearson died from a combination of malnutrition and infected bed sores.
When police visited their home in Fairway they found rooms piled high with soiled clothes, nappies, bottles filed with urine, human waste and decaying rubbish.
Sentencing Pearson, Mr Justice Irwin said he accepted the defendant had a “very unusual background” and that had halved the length of the jail term.
“Leaving aside the squalor you lived in, your mother starved over months. She was grossly weakened by that process and you effectively did nothing to prevent it,” he added.
“The pressure sores were dreadful. They were so advanced that the pathologist who gave evidence in this trial said that only once in 15 years had they seen anything like it. That is truly shocking.
“You made a real contribution to her death. I accept you loved your mother but you grossly neglected her.”
The court heard how she failed to provide adequate food, nourishment and care to her mother and failed to summon timely medical help before she drove her dead body to hospital.
The judge said Pearson, a prosecution team officer at West Yorkshire Police’s Leeds Criminal Justice Support Unit, was able to function “very well” outside of the home environment.
Following sentencing, Detective Superintendent Mark Ridley, of West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Inquiry Team, said: “This is an extremely sad case which will hopefully serve to remind people caring for elderly relatives, who may be experiencing difficulty, that there are a broad range of health and social care services available to provide support in such circumstances and the possible consequences of imprisonment in the most serious cases of neglect, where adequate care is not provided or sought.”
Unmarried Pearson was ordered to pay £36,000 prosecution costs and defence costs.
The court heard how she was currently living in “temporary accommodation” at a £130,000 holiday park caravan home.
Sources said the home in the Knaresborough area was in stark contrast to the squalor of the addresses in Guiseley and was kept in good condition.
Mr Justice Irwin said he was satisfied the pair did indeed live in an “enmeshed way” in which she was dependent on her mother and she in turn became wholly dependent on her.