'I did a lot for my mother' manslaughter accused

6:37 pm on 1 August 2016

The woman whose elderly mother starved to death in her own waste has told the court she did the best job she could in caring for her.

Cindy Taylor is accused of the manslaughter of her 76-year-old mother, Ena Dung, at her Manurewa home in January last year.

Ms Taylor's friends and flatmates - Luana and Bryan Taylor - face charges of failing to get Ms Dung help, despite knowing she was in danger.

Ms Dung was found dead with open sores, 14 broken ribs, a broken breast bone and weighing just 29 kilograms when she died.

Ms Taylor is giving evidence in her own defence and has told the High Court in Auckland that her relationship with her mother broke down but she tried to patch things up.

She said her mother's condition deteriorated after her father left her and her brother died.

Crown prosecutor Natalie Walker asked her under cross-examination about a fight witnessed by a neighbour in which Ms Taylor was seen pulling her mother's hair.

Ms Walker: "You were frustrated because she was (an) elderly woman who became withdrawn and who couldn't care properly for herself."

Ms Taylor responded: "You weren't there to see what I did for my mum. I did a lot for my mother. You've got no right to say to me I didn't look after her. I did the best I can in the given situation. I wanted to show my mother that I could do something for her."

Ms Taylor has also been questioned about telling the court her mother had bulimia.

That evidence contradicts Ms Dung's doctor of 29 years who told the court he saw no signs of an eating disorder.

Ms Walker told Ms Taylor that she had heard Luana Taylor tell authorities that Ms Dung had anorexia and bulimia and that was a story that the three accused were sticking to.

Ms Taylor responded: "It's not a story that we made up, it's not a story."

Ms Walker said the court had heard from medical professionals, police officers, ambulance officers and a funeral director's assistant who visited their house, shortly after Ms Dung's death.

Ms Walker: "They described urine, they described decomposition, they described defecation, they described ammonia, they described a musty smell, they described a stale smell. No one described bile. Can you help us with that?"

Cindy Taylor: "Bile?"

Ms Walker: "Bile, bile from vomit of the type you referred to in your earlier statements. Why would they not have smelled bile if your mother had been vomiting."

Ms Taylor: "Are you trying to imply that on that night before she died, she was vomiting?"

Ms Walker: "You tell us when she had bulimia."

Ms Taylor: "The week up to her passing, she was not consuming any foods or liquids."

Ms Taylor is also accused of misusing her mother and uncle's eftpos cards after they had died, withdrawing over $36,000.

Ms Walker has taken her through her bank records which show she was getting a job seeker's benefit, despite being in full-time employment.

When asked if she knew she was dishonestly taking a benefit she was not entitled to, she replied "no comment" and was cautioned by Justice Wylie that she was not obliged to incriminate herself.