Joanne Quinn

Joanne Quinn

Crimes: Elder Abuse, Failure to Provide Necessities of Life

I have said previously that taking care of an elderly parent is a difficult choice that comes with economic, social, emotional and physical costs. Caregiving is definitely not for everyone. The role should not be foisted upon somebody through guilt trips or familial pressures, because that will cause resentment and anger, and will tear families apart. Rather, a caregiver should embrace the role willingly and being cognizant of hard times and hard work ahead.

I don’t regret putting in almost 25 years caring for my parents — I took on the role because I knew we all got along very well and loved each other very much. That said, I did go through a period of depression. Even now, many years after my parents died, I live with the physical and monetary ramifications of caring for them.

One very important thing that people who are considering becoming caregivers should know — the elderly can develop unexpected, multiple debilitating health issues. When I began caring for my mom, she had multiple sclerosis. I knew her physical abilities would decline, and I was prepared for that. It never occurred to me that she would also develop a dementia that would take away her sweet personality and rob me of the mother I knew and loved.

So why am I expending all this energy trying to scare people away from becoming caring for their elderly parents? Because people who are unprepared, unsuitable or unwilling to be caregivers can create hell on earth for those who need care. I am talking about people like Joanne Quinn of Napier, New Zealand.

Joanne Quinn was the eldest daughter of Maureen Quinn. Although there were 8 siblings in all, it was decided by the family that Joanne Quinn would care for their widowed mom at her Marewa home.

Maureen Quinn needed care. She was widowed in 2006. That year she went to the hospital where doctors found she had muscle wastage, nerve damage, diabetes, osteoporosis and heart disease. The old woman appeared “reluctant for help” at the time — I’m sure she didn’t want to be taken from her home of 60 years. Probably the only help she wanted was from her family.

And so it came to be that Joanne Quinn and her son moved into her mother’s house and relied on her mother’s pension for her income.

Instead of welcoming all the help she could get, Joanne Quinn set about fortifying the house to keep family and friends away. She nailed shut the windows, and refused to open the door to visitors. People who phoned Maureen Quinn were told she was asleep.

Now I don’t know what the 7 siblings and their offspring were thinking, but this state of affairs continued for years. Nobody got to talk to or visit Maureen Quinn.

I am sure if the true situation had been known, action would have been taken much sooner. But because nobody got to see for themselves the hell that Maureen Quinn was living, nothing happened.

And make no mistake — Maureen Quinn was existing in hell. She was trapped in her beloved home. Indeed, she was trapped on her couch, left to rot in her own waste.

Joanne Quinn, whose job was to care for her mother, saw fit to feed the frail elderly woman only toast for breakfast and a boiled egg for lunch. No supper. No snacks. No desserts. That’s starvation rations for sure.

It wasn’t until Lisa Quinn, Joanne’s younger sister, decided to visit in November 2011 that Maureen Quinn, 82, was rescued from her hell.

Lisa Quinn noticed, I’m sure, how the garden her mother had lovingly tended for decades had turned into a jungle. She didn’t get to see her mom in person, but she was successful in speaking to her on the phone.

“She was crying and in pain and she said she couldn’t talk long on the phone,” said Lisa Quinn. She then called her sister and told her that if she didn’t call a doctor then she, Lisa Quinn, would do it.

That night Joanne Quinn approached her sleeping mother and finally lifted up the blanket that covered her frail body. She saw for herself what her total neglect had done to that poor woman.

Medical personnel were brought to the home on November 15, 2011. (I cannot find out who called them in, but I suspect it was Lisa Quinn.) What they found was the stuff of nightmares. Maureen Quinn was “imbedded” in her couch — fibres of the couch were caught in the open wounds on her legs. Those leg ulcers were maggot-infested. Maggot-infested! Some of her toenails on one foot were so long they actually dug into her other leg.

Maureen Quinn was wearing soiled nappies, and she was dirty and smelly. She was “skin and bones” — severely dehydrated and malnourished. She was in such an awful state that the medical personnel were horrified and stunned. The hospital’s chief medical officer, Dr John Gommans, said her condition was “something I’ve never seen”.

Detective Toni Leppien visited Maureen Quinn in Hawke’s Bay Hospital. “There was one time during the interview where I held her hand and she said ‘your hand is so warm. I can’t remember the last time someone touched me’.”

The poor old woman also said, “I can’t believe I had eight children and I’ve ended up in this state.”

Six weeks after being rescued, Maureen Quinn died of bronchial pneumonia.

At the end of March 2014, Joanne Quinn, 51, went to trial. Her defense was that her mother was already ill, and that she was difficult, didn’t like to be touched or moved, and wouldn’t accept help. She claimed she was just following her mother’s wishes by not getting her medical treatment.

If only she’d kept her mother well-nourished, clean, groomed and mobile, Joanne Quinn could have given Maureen Quinn a happy, comfortable life with a minimum of medical treatment.

Joanne QuinnSo what kind of person allows a helpless old woman to develop open leg wounds without getting her treatment? What kind of person allows maggots to eat away at an old woman’s leg? What kind of person allows an old woman to sit in soiled nappies? And what kind of person deprives a diabetic old person of food and fluids? A hellbeast, that’s what kind.

On April 2, Joanne Quinn was found guilty of failing to provide the necessaries of life. She could have been handed a sentence of 14 years in prison. She didn’t get that. On May 16, 2014 Judge Jonathan Down sentenced her to 2 years 6 months. Pathetic. And you know what’s more pathetic? The fact that Joanne Quinn was released after serving only one third of her sentence.

The parole board decided that Joanne Quinn didn’t represent an “undue risk” to the safety of the community. Umm, excuse me? Prisoners are released when they’re not an undue risk to society? What about punishment? What about deterrent? There are valid reasons to keep people behind bars besides the risk they pose to society!

Conditions of Joanne Quinn’s parole include undergoing psychological assessment and any recommended counseling. She is also barred from being “in the position of caregiver for any person or persons dependant on that care”.

New Zealand Herald article – guilty
New Zealand Herald article – family prevented from seeing victim
New Zealand Herald article – neglect case
Daily Mail article – sentence
New Zealand Herald article – early release
Fairfax Media article – free

5 Responses to Joanne Quinn

  1. moodymagic says:

    What a joke of a sentence. This Bitch made her own mother suffer like that. Better pray you dont ever get old and require a caregiver.

  2. Nnygem says:

    It’s so sad that poor woman only had six weeks of freedom to enjoy before she passed :( I bet she savored every moment. Absolutely heartbreaking! Why did no one else fight to see her while her hellbeastly daughter was allowing her to rot into that couch? Sick, sick, sick. I’m going to go hug my mama right this second.

  3. 2cute says:

    Eunice Spry should have this woman care for her when she’s old. She deserves maggots and leg ulcers.

  4. Bengalpuss says:

    Im that sickened at what that poor woman was put through, that i’m lost for words!!

  5. Bulldoggy says:

    This bitch shouldn’t be allowed to care for anyone not even a goldfish. Heartless and evil she is.

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