Wexford couple found guilty of unlawful killing by neglect

Friday 07 December 2012 23.24
Eleanor Joel and Jonathan Costen were found guilty of unlawful killing by neglect
Eleanor Joel and Jonathan Costen were found guilty of unlawful killing by neglect

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

Evelyn Joel was taken by ambulance from her daughter's home in Enniscorthy to Wexford General Hospital on 1 January 2006, but died there six days later.

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

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

Joel and Costen have been remanded on bail for sentencing in February.

The trial before a jury of seven men and five women at Wexford Circuit Court had heard from prosecuting Senior Counsel Justin Dillon that central to the case was that Evelyn Joel suffered from multiple sclerosis.

The State's case focussed on the last four to five weeks that she was in the house before being moved to hospital, saying in that time it seemed she was in bed all of the time.

Mr Dillon told the trial that when ambulance personnel attended her, they found Evelyn Joel was effectively lying in her own filth and that she had not been looked after.

Ambulance Technician Ray Sinnott told the court that when called to the house, Evelyn was in bed, that 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 she was very dirty from her hair to her teeth, arms and legs that as they held her in the bath trying to wash her she moaned with pain.

The case lasted two weeks at Wexford Circuirt Court; and after the judge addressed the jury yesterday, they started their deliberations this morning.

They were later told they could return a majority verdict, which they did, finding both defendents guilty 11-one.

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