Court quashes conviction of couple found guilty of killing MS sufferer Evelyn Joel by neglect

Update:The DPP will consider whether to direct a second retrial for the Wexford couple whose manslaughter convictions were overturned on appeal today.


The Court of Appeal has quashed the convictions of a Wexford couple who were found guilty of killing a woman suffering from MS by neglect.

Evelyn Joel, who was 59, died in hospital after she was removed from the home her daughter Eleanor shared with her partner Jonathan Costen at Cluain Dara in Enniscorthy.

In previous evidence a court heard the ambulance crew that called to Eleanor Joel’s home on New Year’s Day 2006 found her mother Evelyn in her bed. They said she was lying in her own excrement and had not been looked after for some time.

She was malnourished and screamed in pain when hospital staff tried to give her a bath. She died six days later in Wexford General Hospital.

Eleanor Joel and her partner (pictured below) were found guilty of manslaughter by neglect in December 2012. They were handed two-year suspended sentences on condition they carry out 240 hours community service.

Today, the Court of Appeal overturned their convictions after hearing arguments about how the trial was conducted.

Both claimed the verdict should not have been allowed because they were deprived of the chance to challenge a juror that was substituted for another.

Mr Costen also claimed he had no duty of care to Evelyn Joel.

Both also raised concern about the refusal to move the trial out of Wexford.


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