Australia - Ann-Marie Smith, 54, died in suspicious circumstances, Adelaide, 6 April 2020

Discussion in 'Crimes in the News' started by sunnybree, May 18, 2020.

  1. sunnybree

    sunnybree Well-Known Member

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    Press conference:



    For those unable to watch the press conference, Detective Superintendent Des Bray announces the death of Ann-Marie Smith is being investigated as a major crime. It is alleged that:
    * Ann-Marie had cerebral palsy. Her parents died several years ago. She was receiving care under a care package with the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme). Ann-Marie's condition had deteriorated over the past number of years. She could not walk, use a wheelchair, or perform any self-care tasks. She was entirely reliant on paid carers funded through the NDIS.
    * At the time of Ann-Marie's death, her care was being provided by one carer (not named), employed by an agency paid by the NDIS. This carer was to attend the home for six hours a day, seven days a week. A gardener was also funded to care for the grounds of the house.
    * The home Ann-Marie lived in was her own home. She had lived there since 2009, initially with her parents and then lived alone there after they died. She had one brother who had not had contact with her for many years. Her next of kin was a friend who did not live in the area.
    * On 5th April, her carer called for an ambulance when she found Ann-Marie in a semi-conscious state. She was taken to hospital where on that day she underwent major surgery for severe pressure sores; her flesh was "rotting". She died the next day of septic shock and multi-organ failure, both caused by the severe pressure sores, issues relating to cerebral palsy, and she was also suffering from malnutrition.
    * It is alleged Ann-Marie was placed in a cane chair over a year ago and remained in this chair ever since, without being moved. That chair became her toilet, she suffered "disgusting and degrading conditions". Investigators found there was no fridge in the house and they could not locate any nutritional food.
    * This is expected to be a complex investigation. Police are relying on medical experts. A financial investigator has been engaged. Police will be seeking to determined who was playing a role, or supposed to be playing a role, in Ann-Marie's care leading to her death. Her death has been deemed preventable.
    * In response to one question from a reporter, Detective Superintendent Bray said it was not a matter of Ann-Marie being "found" in that condition, it is a matter of how Ann-Marie became so unwell when she was supposed to be receiving care from a carer seven days a week.
    * The police attended a home in Hectorville (Adelaide suburb) and interviewed the carer, seizing a number of items.


    News articles:

    Ann-Marie Smith death prompts demand for answers from federal and state authorities - ABC News

    https://7news.com.au/news/crime/maj...n-marie-smith-at-kensington-gardens-c-1039865

    SA Police investigating death of woman in 'disgusting and degrading circumstances' - ABC News

    Integrity Care SA sacks Ann-Marie Smith's carer over 'serious misconduct' - ABC News

    9News - Latest news and headlines from Australia and the world

    There are really two investigative threads. One is the criminal complaint the police are pursuing: has a crime or crimes been committed against Ann-Marie Smith. The second thread, which will be investigated by various agencies, is to examine the systemic failures that may have contributed to the death of this vulnerable woman.
     


  2. sunnybree

    sunnybree Well-Known Member

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  3. PrimeSuspect

    PrimeSuspect Under the Milky Way

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    Thank you for making this thread.
    I've been thinking about Ann-Marie for days since the news broke. I feel very angry towards her carer and the agency that employed her. Anne-Marie would have been easy to care for. I don't think I'm prepared for the excuses that will be wheeled out for this woman, nothing can explain her behaviour!
    I wonder if the 'carer' stole Ann-Marie's fridge?
     
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  4. sunnybree

    sunnybree Well-Known Member

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    I have been thinking of Ann Marie too. I can’t imagine how excruciating it would be to sit in one chair day after day, unable to move or even shift your weight, until pressure sores break out over your body, become infected, and start to rot. I think it’s interesting that the police have engaged a financial investigator. Like you I also wonder if the fridge, along with other things, is stolen.

    Something baffles me a bit though. Did she really only have one carer for six hours a day, seven days a week? Did this carer not take leave or a weekend off? This is an odd arrangement for a paid carer that should have caused some comment. Also, someone incapable of mobility, self-care, toileting and feeding should have 24/7 care, these is usually achieved by a team of three working 8 hour shifts, if needed an extra at certain times to assist in operating a hoist. You would also need fill in staff when the full time carers were on leave or sick. Often physiotherapists and occupational therapists are engaged as well. It seems a very inadequate care package. If that one person is negligent, incompetent, abusive or criminal, this care arrangement leaves a vulnerable person totally at their mercy.
     
  5. sunnybree

    sunnybree Well-Known Member

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    Another update:

    Ann Marie Smith was surrounded by privilege but died in squalor

    Some new info: apparently there were live in carers years ago and an ugly dispute erupted when they were apparently sacked but claimed squatters rights and refused to leave. Maybe this negative experience turned Ann Marie away from live-in carers? Although six hours a day even delivered by a very competent caregiver would still have greatly curtailed her quality of life I would think. It’s also possible her funding was curtailed by NDIS.


    It appears Ann Marie really only had one person she was seeing face to face, further comment about how very strange such a care arrangement was. Did this carer actively seek Ann Marie’s confidence until such time as she was granted all the shifts? I would also note that if she is the only person Ann Marie was seeing she would have been responsible for cleaning, laundry, meal preparation and grocery shopping. This may have then included access to Ann Marie’s money (else how is the food purchased?) and valuable possessions.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2020
  6. sunnybree

    sunnybree Well-Known Member

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  7. PrimeSuspect

    PrimeSuspect Under the Milky Way

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    This woman chooses 'carer' positions to steal, neglect and control a vulnerable person, too many like these slip through the cracks, she should face criminal charges and prison time, imo. Not holding my breath this will happen, she was approved as a carer by Dept of HS, 18 days after the death of Anne Marie!

    It was also heard that Maione had been screened and approved by the Department of Human Services this year, 18 days after Smith’s death.

    https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/7ne...aling-allegations-inquiry-hears-c-1057137.amp
     
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  8. sunnybree

    sunnybree Well-Known Member

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    I
    I know! Just not good enough.

    Here is another article with more info. Ann Marie Smith's carer was banned amid missing money claims, SA committee hears

    J
    ust more information about the agency employing the carer. As for running a background check on the carer AFTER her client is dead, that’s like shutting the barn door after the horse has bolted. These checks are supposed to be done before employment and regularly thereafter. They cut corners and now a woman is dead. Ann would have been the perfect victim to steal from. I gather from an early interview with a previous carer that there was possibly once two-three workers filling the shifts over the week. What a windfall to eventually end up with all the shifts, caring for a woman who can’t move on her own, can’t enter any of the rooms in her house unless the carer takes her, can’t complain to anyone.

    Edited to add more info: Ann-Marie Smith's carer given official clearance - after her client's death - InDaily

    Some extra info about the carer’s employment and lack of background checks. Also questions raised about the care arrangement whereby only one worker was allocated to provide shifts seven days a week. I wonder if the carer manipulated that situation at all or if it was entirely the result of the incompetence of her employers.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2020
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  9. PrimeSuspect

    PrimeSuspect Under the Milky Way

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    It was a windfall, there was some major oversight by the agency that worked in Maione's favour, she worked at deceiving everyone and rewarded herself with Ann-Marie's belongings as well as collecting her weekly pay. She didn't look at Ann Marie as a human being, I'm just appalled and saddened there are people in the world like Maione.
    :( Ann Marie should have been taken outside every day unless it was raining, it's strange no neighbours found it odd they never saw her sitting in the back garden.
    Ann Marie just didn't have a chance. :(
    Elderly parents with a disabled child will be very concerned with what will happen after they're gone.

    Despite having a carer at her house every day, police believe she'd been left in the same chair day and night and wasn't even moved to go to the toilet.

    "It's not just one pair of eyes or one person who knows what's going on in somebody's life, it's multiple eyes, it's multiple people," Dr Caudrey said.

    Ann Marie Smith was surrounded by privilege but died in squalor
     
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  10. sunnybree

    sunnybree Well-Known Member

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  11. sunnybree

    sunnybree Well-Known Member

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  12. sunnybree

    sunnybree Well-Known Member

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    Police search for 'extremely distinctive hair clips' missing from Ann Marie Smith's home

    The press conference:

    The main updates are that they are looking for up to $35000 worth of jewellery that belonged to Ann. They are also looking for two fridges. They have also not found any medical records for Ann since 2015, something incredibly perplexing.

    One tidbit that surprised me was that she had been in contact on the phone and tablet in the time leading up to her death. Did she not ask for help? Although given her very limited physical capabilities, who puts the phone/tablet on the charger each day and brings it to Ann to make a call? The carer. And therefore, who is always around when Ann speaks to someone on the phone/tablet? The carer.

    The information also indirectly confirms that Ann had her own money (ie not reliant on the pension) and was capable of making her own financial decisions so very likely would not have had any kind of guardian appointed. So when she became very physically deteriorated there might not have been anyone legally obligated to take over decision-making. But how did it escape the notice of her NDIS plan manager that she wasn’t receiving physio (as usually the physio sends their bill in to NDIS directly). Or did Ann choose to manage her own plan, I think there are options for the money for stuff like this to be paid directly to the client who then pays the professional? But still, five years of no one picking up on something like this?
     
  13. PrimeSuspect

    PrimeSuspect Under the Milky Way

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    Imo, this 'carer' is a heartless criminal who's made a fortune from scamming Ann Marie, and if that isn't bad enough, didn't provide her with proper care! She barely spent time at the house as it was, she knew Ann Marie needed round the clock care, she's a greedy, remorseless individual who kept Ann Marie's existence, a secret!

    Those who employed her, didn't notice she was the only carer? Did she lie about Ann Marie's condition? Did she lie that a family member cared for Ann Marie the other 18 hours a day?! She must have impersonated Ann Marie on the phone/tablet!

    I hope they throw the book at her and she serves time in prison, she's a horrible person! She could've been Ann Marie's saviour by raising the alarm from the moment she was assigned, but chose not to! :mad: The 'carer' felt 'safe' after reporting Ann Marie's death as she was screened and found suitable to remain working 18 days later! How confident she felt to go on and find a similar situation again!!

    It's mind boggling Ann Marie's medical records are missing too! Maybe, she was 'picked up' by word of mouth, this so called 'carer' put her hand up for the position and it went from there. She filled them in with lies about Ann Marie's living arrangements and foolishly, the agency never checked up?! They should be charged too!

    No one visited Ann Marie or communicated with her, only through the carer! I'm so angry about this, there was a vigil on fb for Ann Marie recently, many people felt helpless that we, as a society, let Ann Marie down, she had to die to get our attention. :( Is enough being done to prevent this happening as we speak and in the future?
     
  14. moonriverfarm

    moonriverfarm Well-Known Member

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    Did Ann Marie herself use the phone to communicate with someone outside the home before her death? Who was that person and what was said? How was it possible that the agency never went themselves to check on this woman?
     
  15. sunnybree

    sunnybree Well-Known Member

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    The police said very little about how she called people. I would say, given she had deteriorated to the point of not being able to perform any self-care tasks or move her position, she would not have been able to move herself to put the phone or tablet on charge for example or to fetch them from another room. The carer would have to ensure devices were charged, brought to her, and put away. Which means the carer might have been monitoring any phone calls she made.

    I think it’s a combination of an incompetent agency who cut corners and were lazy (no competent agency would assign one person to shifts seven days a week on a permanent basis) and a criminal, neglectful carer. They may have believed any story the carer told them because they lacked professional curiosity. An example of professional curiosity would be asking why the one carer was willing to work seven days a week, why the client needed so little support relative to her age and disability, and shown interest in visiting Ann Marie as a long term client.
     
  16. Morrisa

    Morrisa Well-Known Member

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  17. sunnybree

    sunnybree Well-Known Member

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    Oh my goodness, it just gets worse and worse. This person/people just had free access to her money. Sounds like maybe some family and friends of the carer were also taking advantage of Annie, given the the police stating a belief that the visitors to the home in 2018 were not approved to care for Annie. And a male leaving a car in Annie’s garage.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2020
  18. PrimeSuspect

    PrimeSuspect Under the Milky Way

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    [​IMG]

    Ann Marie in happier times, she was loved by her family, her parents provided her with a good quality of life and instead of their legacy helping her after their death, she became a victim of an incompentent agency and users and 'carers'. Just breaks my heart what she went through.


    Police said the fines were paid with funds from Ms Smith's bank account, and resulted in her being disqualified from holding a drivers licence for three months.
    Hair clips that Ms Smith had made for her are among jewellery that is missing.

    They are also seeking information about a man and woman who they believe visited Ms Smith's Kensington Park home regularly during October and November in 2018.
    "There was a man — a middle-aged man — and a woman who attended the home regularly in that period, and significantly, that's a period when we know that the carer wasn't attending," Superintendent Bray said.
    While police have still not had any contact from healthcare workers who may have treated Ms Smith since 2015, they are seeking a hairdresser who she went to in Norwood and who visited her at home.

    "If Pat's out there and you're listening, I'd encourage you to contact Crime Stoppers," Superintendent Bray said.

    Ann Marie Smith's car racked up $2,000 in traffic fines even though she couldn't drive
     
  19. sunnybree

    sunnybree Well-Known Member

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    Here is the link to the latest press conference. For those who can’t watch it:

    * They have identified traffic infringement notices on Annie’s car. It was explained that while Annie could not drive, she owned the car for the purpose of carers carrying out legitimate care duties for her eg. driving her to appointments. Police believe someone was using Annie’s car for their own purposes, and the traffic infringement fines were paid using Annie’s credit card.

    * Carers legitimately had access to Annie’s credit card to buy stuff she needed. Annie was described as “pretty switched on” and would have found out sooner or later if her cards had been used inappropriately.

    * Bray said that whilst he can’t say how they know, police do know that during October and November 2018 the carer did not provide care to Annie and two other people, a man and a woman, looked after Annie and, in question time, Bray said he was confident they were not staff from the agency. (My guess is they found out the carer was overseas or in hospital or something during this period of time but with no record of her actually taking leave from work. Because if she took leave, other carers would visit and her exploitation of Annie would have been exposed, so she perhaps she pretended she was still working and got family/friends to cover her.)

    * Still no medical records from 2015 onwards. They are looking for her old hairdresser, asking that she call Crimestoppers.

    * Again it was advised that Annie was in touch with friends via phone in the days before her death and made no complaint of her treatment. As I’ve said here before, my theory is that because of her physical limitations towards the end of her life, she could not access the phone or tablet without the assistance of the carer. Therefore the carer was likely standing beside her during these phone calls. Given the agony she must have been experiencing due to the pressure sores, to me it’s the only explanation that makes sense.

    It’s a gap in the system, I think. If Ann Marie did not have an intellectual impairment and had money and a home of her own, her vulnerability to abuse might have been overlooked. However due to her physical impairments, bad people could take advantage of her. Because she can’t move on her own, it would take longer to realise some stuff was stolen if the carer refuses to take her into certain parts of the house. She can’t call the police because her phone/tablet are kept out of reach. She can’t ask for help because when she does speak to someone, her abuser is right there. She can’t take her credit card back, she can’t stop them from taking her jewellery, she can only watch it happen and be powerless to do anything, it was so easy for these evil people to take away her agency.
     
  20. sunnybree

    sunnybree Well-Known Member

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    Last edited: Jun 20, 2020

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