Preston murder trial Day 2: Mum showed signs of severe neglect
A court has heard how a son accused of murdering his elderly mother refused help from family, neighbours and medical professionals towards the end of her life.
Bernadette Green, 88, weighed just six stone when her son Stephen, 65, a retired policeman, allegedly smothered her to death at the home they shared in Ashton-on-Ribble.
Her severely emaciated body, showed what a pathologist described as signs of severe neglect.
About a month before she died, Bernadette suffered a fall which left her bedridden, putting a stop to otherwise daily visits from her close friends and neighbours Marjorie and George Kenyon who would drop over to see her each morning with their dog Jasper.
Giving evidence at Preston Crown Court yesterday Marjorie spoke of how mother and son enjoyed what appeared to be a normal relationship, laughing and joking together.
“They were perfectly all right,” said Marjorie. “They used to laugh and joke. He used to have banter with her about watching television programmes that were 60 or 70 years old.”
However, after her fall, Bernadette was confined to her bed and although Marjorie and George asked to she her Green would tell them that she was sleeping - and they didn’t see her again until her death on May 18.
Marjorie said: “I used to hear her coughing now and then. I used to ask him [Stephen] how she was and he used to say she’s either sleeping or she’d had a bad night.
“I used to ask him had he called a doctor and he said she was adamant she didn’t want a doctor. She didn’t want to go into a nursing home or hospital and he was just abiding by her wishes. She could be stubborn, very stubborn.”
Although Marjorie tells of a seemingly good relationship between Bernadette and Stephen text messages Stephen sent to his daughter Rebecca Lowman tell a different story.
On April 21 he sent a message to her which said: “I’ve got out for a short while. I’m looking after a stinking corpse. Hey ho.”
In a final message to Rebecca the day after Bernadette died Stephen wrote: “That’s it sweetheart. It was a slow, miserable, messy end but she’s finally gone. Now to something more important, are you and the family OK?”
A statement from Rebecca was read out in court by prosecutor Francis McEntee. In it she said she thought the final text was “flippant”.
She said: “He wouldn’t accept any help from anyone, he was such a martyr.”
The statement went on: “I often offered to help care for my grandmother but he would often decline my help. If I ever went to the address I would wait outside for him to come out.”
The jury also heard how Green had dissuaded Catherine Jackson, a trainee nurse associate, to take Bernadette’s blood pressure after a nurse practitioner at Flintoff Way Medical Centre, Preston had arranged for the visit.
A statement by her read out in court said: “He said he didn’t want her blood taken when he knew there wasn’t much that people could do for her. I left the house with no concerns.”
Jurors were also played a recording of the 999 call Green made to the Ambulance after Bernadette’s death at 6.48pm on May 18.
The call handler encourages Green to try to resuscitate her. In response Green said: “I appreciate your efforts love. She’s just gone, it’s as simple as that.”