By Lydia Anderson
AUCKLAND, July 19 NZN - A jury has been warned they will need to examine shocking pictures of an elderly, emaciated Chinese woman who died surrounded by flies and her own filth.
Three people are standing trial in Auckland on charges including manslaughter over the death of Ena Lai Dung, 77, who weighed only 29kg when she died half-naked in her bed on January 16, 2015.
She was covered in bed sores, with 14 rib fractures and chemical burns from her own faeces and urine and lay only on a plastic sheet on which she had defecated.
Her daughter Cindy Taylor, 43, is accused of manslaughter and dishonesty offences, while wife and husband Luana Taylor, 56, and Brian Taylor, 62, are charged with failing to protect a vulnerable adult.
Cindy Taylor and her mother were boarding with the couple at their Manurewa house when she died.
The jury was warned repeatedly on Tuesday they will need to see pictures of Ms Dung at the time of her death, which they could find upsetting.
Cindy Taylor's lawyer Peter Kaye said the jury needed to be careful not to develop prejudice against his client after viewing the photos despite the "tragic, distasteful and unpleasant" manner in which Ms Dung was found.
However Crown prosecutor Natalie Walker said "a picture tells a thousand words".
"This is a case about the gross neglect of a vulnerable woman by the three defendants," she said.
On the night of Ms Dung's death, Luana Taylor made a 111 call saying she thought her boarder had died.
The ambulance operator then asked Cindy to check on her mother and move her to the floor to perform CPR, but she refused.
Ms Walker alleged all three defendants knew Ms Dung was dead when the 111 call was made, and were only making an appearance of caring.
Ambulance officers, police and a funeral home worker who all attended the scene would give evidence about the overwhelming smell of urine coming from Ms Dung's room, the flies that surrounded her, and her emaciated state, with her bones clearly protruding through her skin, Ms Walker said.
At the time, Cindy told police she had been feeding her mother, who had suffered from bulimia for years, but in the days before her death she had refused to eat.
She said her mother was prone to being dramatic, falling over on purpose and playing mind games, and she had refused to see doctors, Ms Walker said.
A post-mortem revealed Ms Dung had died from dehydration and malnutrition. She had 14 fractures to her ribs and one to her sternum that could have been weeks old, according to a pathology report.
She had faecal and urine staining to her skin, and smelled of gangrene.
Ms Walker said the pathologist determined Ms Dung had no pre-existing diseases that would have contributed to her death.
Cindy Taylor is also accused of withdrawing her mother's and an uncle's pensions after their deaths, and not notifying the Ministry of Social Development they had died.