Hartlepool pensioner found ‘matted in own faeces’ after being left in squalor by daughter

DISGUSTING: The mess that Rita Holroyd was left to live in
DISGUSTING: The mess that Rita Holroyd was left to live in

THESE pictures of squalor show the conditions shocked police discovered when they broke into a house to find a vulnerable pensionser who had been left alone covered in her own filth.

Half-eaten food containers were strewn across the worktops, bags of litter were stacked up all over the house and the carpets were covered in cat mess.

Rita Holroyd was discovered by police and a team from social services after concerns were raised about her welfare.

Hartlepool Magistrates Court heard that at the time of the incident in December 2012 police had to climb over bags of rubbish to reach the victim, who had been left in a single bed in the front room.

The property was described as being littered with food containers, cat faeces and having a smell of ammonia, with the victim who was 79 at the time, “matted in her own faeces”.

The victim’s daughter, 61-year-old Christine Holroyd, appeared before magistrates for sentence after pleading guilty to ill-treating or willfully neglecting a person without capacity at an earlier hearing.

Alan Davison, prosecuting, said: “Rita Holroyd is an elderly lady who lived alone at the time.

“A concerned neighbour contacted social services and police after becoming concerned for her welfare.

“Police gained access to the rear of the property and had to climb over several bags of rubbish to make their way to her. She was in a single bed in the front room, lying on her back.

“She was unable to sit up, and was covered in urine and faeces. Her hair was matted with her own faeces.

“The carpets were filthy. There was a child’s cup near the bed but she couldn’t physically raise it to her mouth.

“She was taken to hospital, once a pathway had been cleared through the rubbish to get her out, and her skin was covered in sores.

“When she was taken into hospital, her hair had to be cut off as it was too matted.”

The pensioner remained in hospital for two months, and was then admitted into a care home.

Mr Davison added: “She was seen by a nurse at her home two or three weeks prior to this incident for a vitamin injection, and there were no concerns raised by the nurse at that time

“But she was deemed to have no capacity for self-care.”

The court heard that Holroyd had been caring for her mother, but the care fell short when her work circumstances changed.

John Relton, defending, said: “There were no concerns over circumstances in the house when the nurse visited.

“This was brought to a head when my client’s work changed. Her mother was very distrusting of third party help and support because of a previous experience when her engagement and wedding rings were stolen from her house.

“My client had her own health problems at the same time, which led to her not seeing the scale of the problem in front of her.

“She has a brother and sister out of town. She should have asked for help. She thought they were coping, but they weren’t.”

Mr Relton said the mother and daughter’s relationship had not been affected by the situation, and that the ordeal had had no long-term impact on the victim.

Sentencing Holroyd to a three month prison sentence suspended for a year, chairman of the bench Keith Kitching said: “We have seen the probation report which is in parts quite distressing to read.

“The lady in question here was left in this condition for a lengthy period of time and she shouldn’t have been.

“There is nothing wrong with asking for external help. It is refreshing to hear she is now in residential care.”

Holroyd, of Grosvenor Street, Hartlepool, was also slapped with £85 costs and an £80 victim surcharge as well as being given a 12 month supervision order.