Leeds & West Yorkshire

Mental illness 'affected' death accused Angela Pearson

A woman accused of killing her mother through gross negligence was suffering from two conditions that affected her judgement, a jury has heard.

Angela Pearson, of Guiseley, Leeds, is accused of killing her mother Eileen, 82, whose "emaciated" body she drove to Leeds General Infirmary in May 2011.

The 53-year-old denies manslaughter by gross negligence.

Preston Crown Court heard Ms Pearson was said to be suffering from two syndromes at the time of death.

The West Yorkshire Police employee, of Ghyll Road, Guiseley, is said to have failed to provide adequate food, nourishment and care to Mrs Pearson and failed to summon timely medical help before she drove her dead body to hospital.

Human waste

Police who visited their home found the property squalid.

Rooms were piled high with a mixture of discarded possessions, soiled clothes, soiled nappies, food waste, bottles filled with urine and human waste.

The court heard Mrs Pearson took to her bed following the death of the defendant's father in 2001 with her only child being her sole carer.

Both women were said to be suffering from Diogenes syndrome, also known as senile squalor syndrome, which is characterised by such actions as compulsive hoarding of rubbish.

They also suffered from folie a deux syndrome - translated from French as madness created between two people.

Defence psychiatrist Nigel Eastman said: "It is clear that the defendant grew up in a very enmeshed relationship with her mother.

"An overly close relationship. Not a normal relationship, an enmeshed relationship that never separates."

Prof Eastman explained folie a deux depended on one person being the primary individual, in this case Eileen Pearson, with the other person being in the shadow of them.

He said Ms Pearson felt "cosy" living amid the terrible and chaotic household conditions.

Earlier, the defendant told the jury that her mother only wanted her to care for her and that she had "absolutely no idea" she was so close to death.

Prof Eastman said: "She was caring for her mother in a profoundly misguided fashion."

He said her perception of the risk to her mother's health was not that of a normal person because of her mental disorder.

The case continues.

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