28 Nov 2016

Daughter's 'cruel' neglect killed mother

3:38 pm on 28 November 2016

The actions of a daughter who left her mother to die in her own waste has been described by the sentencing judge as cruel and callous in the extreme.

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Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Cindy Taylor's elderly mother Ena Dung was found dead in her bed in January last year.

She was covered in open sores, and weighing just 29kg. Ms Dung also had 14 broken ribs and a broken breastbone that required immediate medical attention, but instead Cindy Taylor put her in bed.

At the High Court in Auckland today Justice Wylie said it was hard to imagine death in worse or more degrading circumstances.

He said Miss Dung's survival depended on Taylor, who had let her mother die through neglect.

He said she had committed a gross breach of trust.

"Miss Dung was suffering from severe malnutrition and dehydration, again this must have been obvious to you."

"In my view Miss Dung's basic human dignity was ignored. Miss Taylor your neglect and failure to protect your mother was cruel and callous in the extreme."

She was sentenced to a total of 13 years and three months jail for the manslaughter and two dishonesty charges.

Taylor withdrew over $36,000 of her dead mother and uncle's pensions.

Justice Wylie told Taylor that she had caused her mother's vulnerability and made her socially isolated.

Also being sentenced today were Taylor's flatmate, Luana Taylor to six years and three months and her husband Brian Taylor to six years for failing to help the 76-year-old.

Justice Wylie said the pair (who are not related to Cindy) were not directly responsible for the death but they had turned a blind eye to what was happening in the house.

He said there was a prolonged breach of duty by the couple.

A victim impact statement by Ena Dung's sister, Elaine Wilson was read out in court by her son, Chris.

"I cry every time I think about suffering and pain of the broken ribs. I have nightmares about her hurting and starving to death.

"I cry and cry to know my sister's dignity was disregarded. That she was left on a plastic sheet without the dignity of any clothing or even a sheet to hide her modesty."

In the statement, Elaine Wilson directly addressed Cindy Taylor and Luana Taylor.

"I'm so hurt Cindy that you could have allowed this to happen to your mother and I feel that this would never have happened if you Luana hadn't come back into Ena's life.

"Whatever Ena did in her life she didn't deserve to die the way that she did."

Justice Wylie did not set a minimum non parole period for any of the three.

It can now be revealed that Ena Dung and Luana Taylor had known each other for a number of years and been involved in a scam to obtain pethidine in 2007.

Between July and August of that year, the pair together with two relatives of Ena Dung went to medical centres and hospitals in Taranaki and Masterton and pretended to be in pain.

As a result of the scam, they were prescribed the controlled drug Pethidine, which was for Luana Taylor's use.

Following a police investigation, both women were convicted of theft of drugs and obtaining by deception.

Ena Dung was sentenced to community work while Luana Taylor was fined and put under special supervision.

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