Mother who starved didn't want a doctor, daughter says

3:17 pm on 28 July 2016

The daughter of a woman who was found starved to death in her own bed told police that she never wanted her mother to die like that.

Entrance to the High Court in Auckland

Entrance to the High Court in Auckland Photo: justice.govt.nz

Cindy Taylor is accused of the manslaughter of her 77-year-old mother, Ena Dung, who was found dead and lying in her own waste at her Manurewa home in January last year.

Ms Dung weighed just 29kg.

Cindy Taylor's flatmates, Brian and Luana Taylor, who are not related to Cindy, face charges of failing to get Ms Dung help, despite knowing she was in danger.

Sergeant Katie Amstad took a statement from Cindy Taylor about a month after the death and read it out in the High Court in Auckland today.

In the statement, Cindy Taylor told Ms Amstad that, in hindsight, she should have got medical help, instead of listening to her mother's requests that she didn't want a doctor.

"Even though we had our differences, I didn't want her to die like she did."

She said she and her mother had a falling out after Ms Dung was convicted of drugs charges in 2007.

The court had earlier heard evidence from Detective Senior Sergeant Barry Bysouth who said Ms Dung was one of four people who went to hospitals and medical clinics, pretending to be in pain in order to get the controlled drug pethadine.

He said evidence showed the drug was for another person and Ms Dung pleaded guilty and was sentenced to community work.

Sergeant Bysouth said there was no evidence Ms Dung was a drug addict and he planned to call her as a Crown witness at the trial, but the trial never went ahead.

Cindy Taylor told police that her mother had not told her the truth about the offending. She said the pair agreed they would never have a close mother-daughter relationship, but they needed to get along.

She said later she moved in with her mother, who was living with Brian and Luana Taylor, so she could look after her.

Court told of mother - daughter arguments

Cindy Taylor said she and her mother would argue. Her mother would play games with her and had a grudge against her.

But she cooked and cleaned for her mother and when she stopped leaving her room, she would bring her meals to her.

Two months before her mother's death, she said, her mother stopped doing her exercises, using the toilet and eating. Cindy Taylor said she would feed her mother by hand and often had to change the bedding and her mother's clothes.

She said she was also looking after Luana Taylor, who is in a wheelchair. She told police she was also busy at work.

Cindy Taylor said her mother went downhill quickly, but she refused to see a doctor. She did not notice how thin her mother was getting because Ms Dung spent all her time lying down in bed. Cindy Taylor also spoke of her mother suffering from the eating disorder bulimia.

The court had previously heard from Ms Dung's doctor of 29 years, who said Ms Dung did not have any eating disorders.

Cindy Taylor said she planned to call an ambulance on the weekend, but her mother died on the Friday.

Sergeant Katie Amstad also questioned Cindy Taylor about withdrawing her mother and uncle's pension - despite both of them being dead.

Cindy Taylor said she was following their wishes and withdrew the money - $1660 fortnightly - before giving it to another person. She refused to name the person.

Detective Amstad made a number of enquiries in the case. One of them was to the morgue. She said Ms Dung's body lay in the morgue unclaimed for a month before it was collected, despite repeated calls to Cindy and Luana Taylor.

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