Woman and partner guilty of unlawful killing by neglect




A couple have been found guilty of unlawful killing by neglect of a woman suffering from multiple sclerosis in Co Wexford six years ago.

Ambulance staff found grandmother Evelyn Joel, 59, in an appalling condition at her daughter’s home in Enniscorthy on Jan 1, 2006. She died in Wexford General Hospital six days later.

Her 38-year-old daughter Eleanor, and Eleanor’s partner, Jonathan Costen, aged 40, both pleaded not guilty to the unlawful killing by neglect.

After four hours of deliberation, the jury returned majority 11-1 guilty verdicts for both of the accused.

They have been remanded on bail for sentencing on Feb 11.

The trial at Wexford Circuit Court had heard from prosecuting counsel Justin Dillon that ambulance personnel found Evelyn Joel lying in her own excrement and that she had not been properly cared for.

Ambulance technician Ray Sinnott told the court that when he called to the house, Evelyn was in bed. He said she looked very thin and pale, and that when he pulled the sheets back he saw nappies and excrement around her lower body.

Hospital technician Dermot O’Brien said Evelyn was very dirty, from her hair to her teeth, arms, and legs, and that as he and a nurse held her in the bath trying to wash her, she moaned with pain.

The case lasted two weeks at Wexford Circuit Court before Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin.

During the course of the evidence, in a statement read into the trial, Jonathan Costen told gardaí he was sorry for what had happened to Evelyn Joel.

In his statement, Costen said: “For my part, she was neglected by both of us. The neglect went on for two to three weeks. She was not cleaned, nor was her bed. I don’t know about food.”

Both have been asked to surrender their passports and a psychological assessment was requested on Eleanor Joel.


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