The Coroners Court has recommended the state government establish an independent body to deal with complaints of elder abuse, following an inquest into the death of a 77-year-old woman.
Janet Mackozdi had spent two days living with her daughter Jassie Anglin and son-in-law Michael Anglin in New Norfolk in 2010 when she died in a shipping container overnight in sub-zero conditions.
Before then, the couple had cared for her as she lived independently in a unit in New Norfolk.
The court heard that Mr and Mrs Anglin had not sufficiently cared for Mrs Mackozdi and “systematically disengaged” her from outside care, as well as exploiting her financially.
In 2015, following their pleas of guilty, Mr and Mrs Anglin were convicted of manslaughter in relation to Mrs Mackozdi’s death.
They each received a wholly suspended sentence of two years’ imprisonment, on the condition that they committed no offence punishable by imprisonment.
On Friday, Coroner Olivia McTaggart handed down her findings following an inquest into Mrs Mackozdi’s death.
“The facts of this sad case raise for comment the issue of elder abuse, a matter of increasing concern for the community as the Tasmanian population ages,” Coroner McTaggart said.
“Mrs Mackozdi should not have died how and when she did – she deserved proper care, dignity and respect in her last years of life and in her death.
“Sadly, that was lacking in many respects on the part of those responsible for providing it.”
Coroner McTaggart made a number of recommendations regarding responses to elder abuse for the state government to consider, including, but not limited to:
- The establishment of an independent body with specific responsibility for dealing with elder abuse complaints;
- The development of a renewed Elder Abuse Prevention Action Plan; and
- The review and potential reform of legislation relating to responses to elder abuse.