Ann Marie Smith’s care worker has been arrested and charged with manslaughter, after the Adelaide disability care recipient died in what police said were “disgusting and degrading circumstances”.
- Ann Marie Smith died in April from severe health issues
- A woman has been charged with manslaughter
- Police are continuing to investigate other aspects linked to her death
SA Police arrested Hectorville woman Rosemary Maione, 68, on Thursday morning at her home, which detectives searched along with another property at Banksia Park.
Ms Smith, 54, died on April 6 from severe septic shock, organ failure, severe pressure sores, malnutrition and issues connected with her cerebral palsy.
The case sparked public shock and multiple investigations, including by police, and it is believed Ms Smith may have spent up to a year confined to a cane chair before she died in hospital.
Ms Maione, a paid care worker, was charged at the City Watch House and is expected to face court on Friday.
After an investigation spanning several months, Major Crime Detective Superintendent Des Bray announced the breakthrough, and said police alleged Ms Smith’s death “was the result of serious criminal neglect”.
“I can’t discuss the evidence, but we we believe that [it] was sufficient to justify an arrest today.
“The first phase of the investigation … was focused on the provision of care directly to Annie, and anybody who was involved in that care.
“It’s been a comprehensive investigation to date, looking at all aspects of the care provided to her, and we’ve been able to build a picture of Annie’s life since the death of her parents in 2009.”
Details of Ms Smith’s fate were first publicly revealed by police at a media conference in May.
Ms Smith’s care worker was later identified as Ms Maione.
Ms Smith was a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant who lived alone in Adelaide suburb Kensington Park and relied on a carer for all of her needs.
Her care provider, Integrity Care SA, was fined more than $12,000 by the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission for failing to report her death.
Investigation moves to ‘second phase’
In June, Major Crime detectives revealed $35,000 of jewellery and two fridges were missing from Ms Smith’s home.
They also revealed her car had been used by an unknown person and that two separate loans totalling $70,000 were taken out in Ms Smith’s name in the last six years.
A large cash inheritance left by her parents in 2009 had been withdrawn from her bank account, with police saying the amount taken was disproportionate to her lifestyle.
Police are continuing to investigate other matters linked to her death, and said they have had “exceptional cooperation from people within the medical industry” and the public.
“We’ve had over 74 calls to Crime Stoppers and we thank the people who have contacted us and it has made a significant contribution to the investigation,” Superintendent Bray said.
“We’re still unable to identify anybody who provided dental care to Annie at any stage her life, and we’d encourage any dentists out there who may have treated her at any point in her life to make contact with Crime Stoppers.
“The financial investigation remains ongoing and will take a considerable time to complete.”
Superintendent Bray said the investigation would now enter its “second phase” which “will expand and look at everyone else who was involved in the provision of care to Annie”.
“I can tell you we had appealed to a person called Pat to come forward who was a hairdresser,” he said.
“We have still been unable to locate any records of treatment by doctors, nurses and physios since 2014.”
It made seven recommendations, including for “vulnerable NDIS participants to have regular health checks”.