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'Carer' sentenced to six years jail for neglect death of Ann Marie Smith

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The carer who admitted the manslaughter of Ann Marie Smith in a shameful neglect case which turned a spotlight on disability support has been sentenced to six years and seven months in prison.

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Rosa Maria Maione, 69, came before the South Australian Supreme Court for sentencing on Friday after having her bail revoked last week.

Justice Anne Bampton imposed a head sentence of six years and seven months, with a non-parole period of five years and three months.

In sentencing submissions last week Maione offered a tearful apology for her criminal neglect.

“I’m so sorry that my actions have caused so much distress,” she said in a short statement.

“I pray with all my heart that Annie is in heaven. I ask for Annie’s forgiveness, knowing that nothing I say can ever bring her back.

“I will bear this guilt for the rest of my life.”

Smith passed away in hospital in April 2020 after being found in her home suffering septic shock, multiple organ failure, severe pressure sores and malnourishment.

The 54-year-old had been found to be living in squalid conditions in her own home, largely confined to a cane chair, while under the care of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

In the period leading up to the death, Maione had worked as her sole paid carer.

At an earlier court hearing, Smith’s family said there was some relief in Maione’s guilty plea.

“She’s finally stood up to be counted. But it’s too late,” the victim’s uncle Glenn Smith said.

Police previously alleged Ann Marie Smith died of serious criminal neglect and her death was preventable.

In May 2020, Human Services Minister Michelle Lensink said Maione had apparently worked for years for employer Integrity Care SA without the proper State Government screening checks and approval, despite being stopped from working with Domiciliary Care in 2013, while it was still a state-run agency.

Smith was previously under the care of state-run Disability SA, but was transferred to the NDIS in 2018.

While the State Government is no longer responsible for oversight of Commonwealth clients such as Ann-Marie Smith, it is still responsible for screening paid care workers in SA.

Despite Smith’s death on April 6 2020, Integrity Care on April 16 applied to the State Government for a working with vulnerable people screening for Maione – which was granted.

Integrity Care also failed to tell the NDIS about the death of the client it was paid to care for, despite a requirement to do so within 24 hours.

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission investigated the case and later revoked Integrity Care’s registration and issued a banning order against it.

-with AAP

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