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Auckland women guilty of starving mother to death

A New Zealand woman has been found guilty of manslaughter after a court ruled that she allowed her elderly mother to starve to death, while also failing to provide clean living conditions.



Cindy Taylor was found guilty after a three-week trial in Auckland, after her mother, Ena Dung, died at the age of 76 while lying on a plastic sheet in their three-bedroom house.

Taylor’s flatmates were also found guilty of neglect, with the judge saying they had failed to notify the authorities of the situation. Brian Taylor and his wife Launa (not related to Cindy) said they had no idea the situation was so severe.

Crown prosecutor Natalie Walker said in her closing arguments: “Ms Dung’s shocking weight, 29kg, her emaciated state and the protruding bones are all evidence you can be sure that [Ms Taylor] failed to provide her mother with nourishment.

“She had skin tears, visible blood, pus, open exposed sores. There were no signs of anti-septic, disinfectant creams, plasters, bandages.

“These are all open sites for infection on her mother in a hot New Zealand summer, as she lay in her own waste on a plastic sheet.”

The court took into account that the house indeed had food and cleaning products in the cupboards, but Taylor said that her mother refused all help and food, and would not let her 14 fractured ribs be treated.

Louise Freyer, the lawyer for the Taylor couple, said her clients were not aware of the elderly woman’s plight, nor of the assertion that Ms Taylor could not cope with her mother’s needs.

Freyer said: “There’s been no evidence that suddenly Cindy Taylor starts crying hysterically and says: ‘I can’t do this anymore, I can’t do this anymore. My mother’s wasting away there, she’s got sores all over her body. I can’t cope’. Nothing like that.”

The trio will be sentenced next month.