Man jailed for ‘inhumane’ neglect of elderly mum
A MELBOURNE man who bought earplugs from Bunnings to block out the sound of his neglected, elderly mother screaming at night has been unexpectedly jailed five years after her death.
The 52-year-old wailed and groaned as he was taken into custody on Friday, his voice echoing from the cells as he was led from the docks, beginning day one of an 18-month jail sentence.
He still blames his borderline intellectually disabled partner for the events that led to the death of his 83-year-old mother, who died in "squalid and filthy" conditions.
The grandmother of five died in October 2013 on a rotten mattress with bronchopneumonia and weighing only 34kg.
The epileptic woman had suffered a stroke, countless seizures, was wearing a soiled nappy that hadn't been changed in a week and covered in scabs and lesions.
Her wounds were dressed in old bandages and she had no medication in her system - not even the epilepsy medication she'd taken since she was 16.
Previously, the woman had lived at a nursing home where she'd been properly cared for, had seen the doctor monthly and was known by staff as an "independent lady".
The man's de facto wife, who cannot be named for legal reasons, removed the grandmother from her nursing home and started receiving Centrelink payments as her carer.
The family of eight - including the couple's five children - received about $62,000 in government payments each year.
On Friday, County Court Judge John Carmody gave the 46-year-old woman a 12-month, wholly suspended for two years, stating her borderline intellectual disability reduced her moral culpability.
However, he jailed the man for 18 months despite both the prosecution and defence asking for a non-custodial community corrections order.
Judge Carmody said the man was the primary decision-maker in the household, still showed no remorse and had the "primary moral responsibility" to care for his mother once she was removed from her nursing home.
The pair, which until now had been on bail, pleaded guilty to reckless conduct endangering life by failing to provide adequate aged care or medical attention.
"To have her living in the squalid conditions was inhumane and severe neglect of a person who was old, frail and dependent on both of you," Judge Carmody said.
The man will serve a minimum 12 months' jail before being eligible for parole.
Two of the couple's children cried in court, with their son yelling out "I love youse".