By January 2013 Dad was getting very frail. The Parkinsons was getting worse, his walking was unsteady, his memory was bad. He was very vulnerable. He still hadnt married Christine. He had made his will and settled his affairs. he often talked about going to Dignitas, he was so unhappy. His hearing was going, he could no longer read. Christine had bought him a new phone but hadnt programmed his phone numbers in, he couldnt do it himself. So except the landline – and that number had changed when they moved and not all his friends had the number, he was totally isolated.
She started whining that she couldnt cope, she wanted to put him in a home so she could go to Spain and have a holiday. Dad really DID NOT want to go into a home, even for a day. However, Christine and my sister put him into a home for two weeks in March. It was miles away so I couldnt visit very often due to the cost. So I found a campsite nearby and took my caravan up so I could visit him every day for the first week. As homes go, it was very nice. But all the doors are locked and he hated it, he endured it. He was angry and humiliated. He said the deal was he had named her as his spouse on his pension, which meant she would get 50% of his pension for the rest of her life – thats over 30K a year. But in return, Dad expected to be cared for and die at home.
A woman I knew quite well. Claire, was a qualified carer and had nursed her husband as he died of cancer. She was out of work, I gave her number to Christine. Claire started going in for 8 hours a day to help out and look after Dad.
June 9th, Dads birthday came. Christine did a very unusual thing, she invited my sister and I to visit him on his birthday. This had never happened before. He had a deep gash on his arm. When he had broken his arm they had put a pin in it, it had been taken out a few months before and wasnt healing. I asked how it was, Christine said it was fine and lifted the dressing off, it was edged with pale green pus, clearly infected. It didnt look fine to me. It looked neglected.
As usual she was expensively clothed, professionally done hair and nails. Dad was in cheap ill fitting clothes. Later Claire told me that she had fine Egyptian cotton sheets on her bed while Dad had cheap bedding. he was given ready meals heated in the microwave each night, and the same meagre salad lunch everyday. No bacon sandwiches allowed! Bacon sandwiches were his favourite. When ever I took him out it was the first thing he wanted to get.
In early July I got a phone call from Dad, he was in a third rate care home in a local village and was really unhappy, she had put him there against his will, booked him in for three weeks and was intending to head off to Spain.
My sister and I contacted his legal team and a meeting was held the next day in the care home. Christine, Claire the carer, my sister and I and his legal representative Geraldine, and John all attended. Geraldine told Christine that as Dad still had capacity albeit limited, that she couldnt put him in a home against his will. It was decided that as he had an appointment at the Spire hospital the next day that he would stay there one more night and see what the hospital said. The private hospital sent him straight to the large local NHS hospital Castle Hill. He had a raging untreated urinary tract infection and it was killing him.
Claire the carer told me that she had told Christine he had a UTI two weeks ago as he had blood in his urine and Claire, as an experienced carer knew what this meant. Christine had not called a doctor.
So, this means she dumped him in a third rate care home with an untreated raging UTI that was killing him. She booked him in for 3 weeks. He would have been dead by then. That is what she wanted to happen.
But it didnt quite go that way…..
The head nurse who admitted Dad was concerned about the neglected state he was in, underweight, untreated UTI, infected wound. i had already called Adult Protection AGAIN. The nurse said if I hadnt already done it, he would have.
For 48 hours Dad was too ill to really make any sense. He was on intravenous antibiotics to fight the infections. This started to take effect and by the third day he was more lucid. He started to say he didnt want to see Christine, he didnt want her to visit him. The nurses agreed he shouldnt have to see her, so she was banned.Dad had comeinto hospital with very few things, but Christine took everything when she left. Gill and I had to buy him pyjamas, shaving kit, dressing gown etc. Social Services came and spoke to him, they also got the Fraud Squad involved as he was very worried that Christine was stealing from him. She was.
He wanted to speak to his bank manager. He couldnt really use a phone, he couldnt remember his bank managers name. I helped find it out and left a message for her to contact me. I also rang and reported his bank card as missing, a stop was put on it immediately.
He was getting better from the infections, but was still really ill so the hospital were doing other tests. Christine rang the hospital and said no test results were to be given to me or my sister unless she was there. This delayed things somewhat as she was banned from the ward. We got that overturned and the same day his bank manager, Belinda came to see him we had the results that morning. Dad had leukaemia.
Around this time I was visiting Dad every day and so was his ex-girlfriend Gill. We were also paying for his carer, Claire to visit and help with meals. We had a rota between us so he had lots of company and help with every mealtime. Claire started to tell us what had been going on at home, it wasnt easy to hear. She told me that Christine had summoned Dads legal representative, Geraldine in March to witness the signing of a document she had prepared stating that Dad gave permission for her to live in his house rent free for the rest of her life. Geraldine refused as for many years Dad had said the opposite. She insisted that he would have to be deemed by a specialist neurologist as mentally competent before she would witness such a document.
Christine took Dad to see his neurologist Mr Min, he agreed Dad had capacity to make small decisions, such as what to wear or eat, but not big decisions that impacted on his existing Will. Nice try Christine. Christine was so angry that Geraldine had refused she became aggressive and verbally abusive to her, and according to Claire, Dads life at home became really horrible. The one escape he had was the TV, but he was so deaf by this time he needed earphones. She wouldnt let him have his earphones. She made him wear clothes that were too tight and hurt him. She danced around the sitting room waving his debit card saying “I’m off to spend your money” and came home three hours later laden with Jaeger and other top end clothing bags.
Belinda from the bank brought three months of bank statements. Dad was frightened because he hadnt seen a bank statement for months. Christine was hiding them from him, using his debit card and doing online banking using his passwords by now. She brought three copies and gave them to Dad. We hadnt got power of attorney, so she couldnt give them to us. Dad then gave them to us. In three months his bank account had gone from over 65K to 2K. In those months he had not been well enough to do his own banking, walk, or leave the house alone.
Dad had told John earlier in the year that he was going to be giving me, my sister Alex and his eldest grandson, Chris a large cheque. I had never had mine, so thought he had intended to do it but had not got around to it. Looking at the bank statement told a different story however. Alex had had a cheque for 20K, Chris had had one for 15K and a third cheque for 20K had gone into an un-named bank account. A further 10K and 5K had been internet banked into Ms C Haworths bank account – Christines. several times a week in this period the debit card had been used to withdraw the maximum – £300 a day, in cash.
Altogether Christine had stolen tens of thousands of pounds.
I gave this evidence to the police. They wanted to interview Dad, get a statement, but his was too ill to really make sense. They dropped the case. I was devastated. They had interviewed Christine under caution, she can be very plausible. She told them Dad had given her permission to take the money. Dad was too sick to say otherwise on the day they came to see him. Other days he was better, it was bad timing.
Social Services also found her convincing, any neglect and cruelty was put down to “carer stress” – despite she had paid help 8 hours every day.
Once Dad had been diagnosed with leukaemia they started him on chemotherapy. He had two lots and it didnt really work, so they gave me 24 hours to find him somewhere to go, they were discharging him.
He couldnt go home as Christine would not get out of the house and he was still refusing to see her, my sister wouldnt have him, and I couldnt have him because i live in a first floor flat. I hadnt got any money but tried to get my sister to agree to help me rent a house where we could take him and look after him. She refused. There are thousands of nursing homes, I didnt know how i could choose, but I wanted one nearby and it had to be kept secret from Christine. She had been removed from the hospital by security three times. She was spotted on security cameras trying to sneak in. The first time she got in, a nurse discovered her badgering Dad about letting her stay in the house. After that security had been tightened.
I decided to ask Sister Catherine of the Endsleigh Mercy Centre as she had a lot of local knowledge. She recommended Holy Name nursing home. Claire. Gill and I went to have a look and it appeared to be very good. Unable to walk Dad was taken by ambulance to the new home. I was exhausted but for the first week I went ever day.
Half the time he couldnt even remember that I had been the day before, the investigation was ongoing. I decided to take my caravan up to the field 50 miles away and have a little break.
Soon after I got back I got the news that the police and Social Services had dropped it, and that Christine had been told where he was staying. She then removed him to a nursing home 35 miles away from me. Only my sister would tell me where he was.
John and I had intended to get married in January, the venue was booked, the dress was delivered. But Dad had been so distressed and his phone calls so depressing we had called it off. The license was going to run out so we decided to go ahead and get married very quietly. We got married on September 25th. I went to see Dad the day before and told him, he seemed happy. I read him a letter from his good friend Piers that Piers had sent to my address. I told Dad I would see him in a week, that we were going for a little honeymoon to my caravan in the field.
We had a lovely week with the cats in that field. And the day we got back the nursing home rang to say Dad had died.