Two given community service in lieu of jail sentence over Joel death

Monday 04 March 2013 23.49
Jonathan Costen and Eleanor Joel were ordered to undertake 240 hours of community service
Jonathan Costen and Eleanor Joel were ordered to undertake 240 hours of community service

A woman and her partner, who were convicted of manslaughter by neglect of a Wexford woman, have been ordered to do community service in lieu of a jail sentence.

Evelyn Joel, 59, died at Wexford General Hospital on 7 January 2006, seven days after she was taken from her home in Enniscorthy by ambulance.

She had been living there with her daughter Eleanor and Eleanor’s partner, Jonathan Costen.

Eleanor, 39, and 41-year-old Costen were ordered to complete 240 hours of community service in lieu of two years in prison.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin described the evidence as gruesome, outlining how a terminally ill woman had been left in her own room lying in her own filth and maggots.

Both Joel and Costen had pleaded not guilty to the unlawful killing of Ms Joel by neglect, but were found guilty by a jury.

During the trial, the defence said her death happened because of her isolation and abandonment by the services.

Judge Ó Donnabháin said there was nothing in the evidence that there should have been anyone else before the courts and he rejected the efforts of the defence to implicate the Health Service Executive.

However, he said he also accepted that without the co-operation of the accused this case would never have got to the courts.

He said in his view this case of gross negligence came about in the main because of the sole isolation of the accused, but it is a case that would have merited a custodial sentence.

The judge imposed a suspended two-year sentence on condition both Joel and Costen undertake 240 hours of community service.

A condition of the bond is that they both obey the conditions as set out in Social Welfare Report and should they fail to observe those conditions or undertake the community service there is every likelihood the sentence would be activated.

He also ordered that both remain sober in public.