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SA woman dies in ‘disgusting’ conditions

A manslaughter investigation has been launched after an Adelaide woman suffering from cerebral palsy died from serious illnesses that developed while under full-time care in her own home.

Detective Superintendent Des Bray said despite living in a nice house in Adelaide’s eastern suburbs, Ann Marie Smith, 54, died in “disgusting and degrading circumstances”.

He said police involvement began after a complaint was made to the Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner about the standard of care Ms Smith received.

The woman, who lived alone, was unable to fend for herself and had a single carer.

“The question is how did Ann become so unwell when she has a full-time carer and people entrusted with her care?” Supt Bray said.

“Ann was living her days and sleeping at night in the same woven-comb chair in her lounge room for over a year.

“That chair became her toilet and there was no fridge and investigators were unable to locate any nutritional food in the house.

“This is a tragic case (and) her death was most likely preventable.

“We have to make sure something like this never happens again.”

Ms Smith died in the Royal Adelaide Hospital on April 6 from septic shock, multiple organ failures from severe pressure sores, and was malnourished.

She was admitted the previous day with severe ulcerated and infected tissue and other serious illnesses, after her carer called an ambulance.

Major Crime launched the investigation after detectives found the living conditions in her Kensington Gardens home unacceptable.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers.

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