A British woman was sentenced to jail Friday for neglecting her mother who was found “dead on a sofa sitting in a pool of diarrhea,” police said.
Emma-Jane Kurtz, 41, of Oxfordshire, was found guilty by the Oxford Crown Court of willful neglect. Judge Peter Ross said Kurtz “would serve at least half of her two-and-a-half-year sentence in prison,” the BBC reported.
Kurtz’s mother, Cecily Kurtz, 79, was discovered by police on July 2, 2014, at their family home, the Thames Valley Police said. Officers found the elderly woman dead on her sofa “covered in her own excrement and had numerous urine burns to her body.”
"Her underwear which had once been white was by now a deep mahogany brown. Her trousers came apart when the paramedics sought to pull Cecily Kurtz onto the floor,” Judge Peter Ross said Friday.
“Cecily was found dead on a sofa sitting in a pool of diarrhea in the most appalling and filthy state,” Senior Crown Prosecutor Kirsty Allman said. “She had been neglected for years in the most horrifically squalid conditions, she weighed 39 kg [85 pounds] was emaciated and her long hair was matted. She was covered in her own excrement and had numerous urine burns to her body.”
Following the horrific death, an investigation was launched after medical crews were concerned about the conditions of Kurtz’s home and if she was neglected.
Investigators determined the elderly woman was on the sofa “slumped over with her chin on her knees for five days.”
Emma-Jane Kurtz told officers she checked on her mother three or four times a day. According to her LinkedIn, Kurtz is an associate solicitor.
"There had been many opportunities over months and years to help her and remove her from that situation,” Detective Constable Francesca Griffin said.
The investigation also found the elderly woman “suffered from mental illness” and “hadn’t been seen by others for a period of 10 years before her death.”
Judge Ross said he “recognized” Emma-Jane Kurtz “had mild autism and was undergoing therapy” but believed she could display empathy.
Allman called the case “one of the most shocking and sickening cases of neglect I have come across.”