'Disgusting And Degrading': Death Of Adelaide Woman Declared A Major Crime
A manslaughter investigation is underway following the death of an Adelaide woman who lived with cerebral palsy, and died under horrific circumstances last month.
Ann Marie Smith, 54, died at the Royal Adelaide Hospital on April 6 from septic shock and multi-organ failure, after undergoing major surgery to remove rotting flesh from pressure sores on her body.
She was also suffering from malnutrition.
"Ann died in disgusting and degrading circumstances," Detective Superintendent Des Bray said on Friday.
Smith, who lived alone in the eastern Adelaide suburb of Kensington Park, lived with severe cerebral palsy and required a carer seven days a week for at least six hours a day.
It was a carer who called emergency services on April 5, after finding Smith in a semi-conscious state in her Bradman Court home. Medical practitioners contacted police after becoming concerned about the condition she was in when she arrived at hospital.
Officers then attended the home, where they discovered the sickening conditions under which Smith had been living.
"She was living her days and sleeping at night in the same woven cane chair in a lounge room, for over a year with extremely poor personal hygiene," Detective Superintendent Bray said.
"That chair had also become her toilet, there was no fridge in the house and investigators were unable to locate any nutritional food in the house."
Smith's parents died in 2009, and she has a brother, but police say the pair weren't in contact. She couldn't walk or use a wheelchair, and police believe she hadn't left her home in several years.
"The outside of the house gives no indication as to the horrors that were perhaps occurring within it," Detective Superintendent Bray said .
Smith was on a support plan under the NDIS, and care was being delivered by a local Adelaide company. SA Police searched the offices of the company last week, and questioned a carer today, seizing several items from both locations.
Neither the company or any carers involved in looking after Smith have been named.
A simultaneous manslaughter and coronial investigation is now underway, and anyone with any information about Smith's death is urged to contact police.
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Feature image: SA Police
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