A cannabis grower has been jailed for neglecting his 88-year-old grandmother after she died in squalid conditions at the house they shared.
Roberts Daniels had converted part of the rented property in Ryecroft Road, Glusburn, near Keighley, into a large-scale cannabis farm and his criminal activities were discovered when police and paramedics were called out after June Cox’s death in January last year.
A judge heard how the frail pensioner, who suffered from health problems including advanced dementia, was found dead on a camp bed covered with a sleeping bag. Prosecutor Richard Wright QC said a post mortem examination revealed that she died from a chest infection, but at the time she was badly malnourished and weighed just three-and-a-half stone.
The court heard there was no obvious source of heat in the cold ground-floor room and the sleeping bag and camp bed were soaked in urine.
“Once the body was removed the bed was revealed to comprise a camp bed frame and a thin mattress covered in bin liners,” said Mr Wright. “The bin liners and mattress were filthy with urine and faeces.”
Daniels, who had been close to his grandmother and had cared for her for 13 years, told police that her health had been declining.
“He confirmed that he had made no attempt to access a doctor or other assistance in the days leading up to death when he had believed her to be exhibiting signs consistent with the approach of the end of her life,” said Mr Wright.
In July last year Daniels, of One Cliff Mills, Elland, was jailed for 40 months for drug dealing, cannabis production and money laundering and he was later charged with manslaughter in relation to his grandmother’s death.
In March Daniels, 37, pleaded guilty to a charge of neglect of a person who lacked capacity. The manslaughter allegation was ordered to lie on the file.
Yesterday Daniels was sentenced to a consecutive sentence of eight months in jail for the neglecting his grandmother.
The court heard that Mrs Cox was reluctant to engage with medical practitioners and her last appointment with a doctor was in April 2015. “It is also a feature of the evidence that many who knew her describe her as a woman of strong character who was herself prone to neglecting her hygiene and cleanliness over a protracted period prior to her losing capacity,” said Mr Wright.
“That said, the defendant assumed her care, was plainly aware that she was very ill, made no effort to seek help of any kind and the condition of her clothing and person at the time she died can only be described as squalid and filthy.”
Mrs Cox’s daughter Diane had seen her mother and nephew three weeks before her death and Mr Wright said she was shocked by her condition.
She asked Daniels to take her mother to the doctor and although he said he would he never made an appointment.
Barrister James Hill QC, for Daniels, said he had not been deliberately ill-treating his grandmother over the seven-week period leading up to her death. “This is someone who was doing his inadequate best for a long period of time, but then, for a combination of reasons not just his personality, but his grandmother’s personality, wasn’t able to take the steps that the law requires people to take to protect people who are vulnerable,” said Mr Hill.
Jailing Daniels for the neglect Judge Penelope Belcher stressed that she was not sentencing him for his grandmother’s death. “I’m not and I do not seek to sentence you for causing her death,” she told Daniels. “I am dealing with you for the neglect of her in her dying days.” Daniels told the judge before he was sentenced that he did not realise anything was seriously wrong until he put his grandmother to bed that night.