Dead woman 'nibbled', daughter on trial

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Cindy Taylor faces a manslaughter charge over the death of her mother, Ena Lai Dung. Photo / Supplied

By Rob Kidd

A 76-year-old woman found dead and completely emaciated had evidence of "little creatures nibbling at her skin", a pathologist says.

Ena Lai Dung was discovered in bed on a tarpaulin, lying in her own excrement, naked from the waist down, surrounded by flies, at an Auckland address where she was a boarder, when emergency services were called on January 16 last year.

She weighed just 29kg when she died.

Her daughter Cindy Melissa Taylor, 43, is on trial before the High Court at Auckland charged with her manslaughter after she allegedly failed to provide her mother with the necessary care to keep her alive.

Luana Roberta Taylor, 56, and her husband Brian Frank Taylor, 62 - not related to the other defendant - lived in the same house in Clendon Park and are accused of failing to protect a vulnerable adult.

Luana Taylor and Robert Taylor have been charged with failing to protect a vulnerable adult.
Luana Taylor and Robert Taylor have been charged with failing to protect a vulnerable adult.

This morning Dr Fintan Garavan told the court Dung had no body fat when he examined her.

"I don't think you need to be a qualified doctor to appreciate that's a very thin, emaciated lady," he told jurors as they studied photos of Dung.

Judge: Pictures 'disturbing'

As he did yesterday, Justice Edwin Wylie warned the jurors they would find the pictures disturbing.

Garavan catalogued the ulcers, bed sores and discolouration to the corpse and highlighted evidence of insects along her legs, usually seen in dead bodies found outside.

Continued below.

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The pathologist detailed areas of the skin that had been chemically burned while Dung lay in her own urine and faeces.

Necrotic ulcers had formed where the skin was dead or dying. Garavan said there was a distinct odour of gangrene.

He said he was unable to give a scientific measure of the pain Dung would have suffered, but said common sense needed to prevail.

"It's not rocket science, these are not very good things to happen to your body," he told the court.

Yesterday, paramedics gave evidence of the scene when they arrived at the South Auckland unit.

Chris Laufale told the court there was an obvious smell of ammonia and stale urine when he entered the house and met the three defendants in the front room.

First responder Mike Hill said he could tell immediately that Dung was dead when he entered the bedroom.

He described her as "just skin and bone, basically a scarecrow".

The trial before Justice Wylie and a jury of eight men and four women is scheduled to last three weeks.

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