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Ann Marie Smith theft case closed as directors charged with neglect

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SA Police have ended an investigation into the theft of $35,000 worth of jewellery from Ann Marie Smith without any charges laid, but say today’s arrest of two Integrity Care SA directors for criminal neglect causing death is the more important result.

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Police held a press conference at midday to announce that two directors of the NDIS-affiliated care agency had been arrested over the death of client Ann Marie Smith in April 2020.

The 54-year-old died in hospital a day after being found in her home suffering septic shock, multiple organ failure, severe pressure sores and malnourishment.

Smith was found to have been living in squalid conditions in her own home, largely confined to a cane chair for up to a year while under the care of Adelaide agency Integrity Care SA.

It employed Smith’s sole carer Rosa Maria Maione, who earlier this year was sentenced to five years in jail for manslaughter.

Police today said the two agency directors were arrested this morning and taken into custody at the Adelaide City Watch House.

Months after Smith’s death, police said that $35,000 worth of jewellery and two fridges were missing from Smith’s home and that her car had racked up $2000 in traffic fines even though she couldn’t drive.

Detective Superintendent Des Bray said today that police “have our own belief as to what happened with some of that, but there isn’t proof to progress any charges”.

The police investigation into the thefts had ended.

“It would have been nice to have a result, but I think if you look at the end game it’s far better that those responsible for Annie’s care are held accountable for what they did or didn’t do,” Bray said.

“I am very, very happy with the results today.”

Following Smith’s death, Integrity Care SA was investigated by the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. It revoked the agency’s registration and issued a banning order against it.

Bray said today there were “good carers who were employed by Integrity Care and who would have had no knowledge of what was occurring”.

“I would expect that there was a lot of carers working for integrity care who would have been horrified,” he said.

“We’re grateful for those people and realistically we’ve had a lot of cooperation from a lot of people in this case.”

Police say they will take about three months to finalise the brief of evidence against those charged.

Bray said police were not expecting to lay further charges on anyone at Integrity Care SA, but added: “We’ll see what happens over the next few months”.

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