Two men found guilty of manslaughter of wife and mother at Carlisle Crown Court

Left to right - Robert Christopher Morgan and David Holyoak.
The jury sat through weeks of harrowing evidence, hearing how the pair (husband Robert Christopher Morgan left, son David Holyoak right) watched as she wasted away and died.

Two men have been found guilty of the manslaughter of a 71-year-old woman who was left to waste away and die in squalid conditions.

Dorothy Morgan weighed just four-and-a-half-stone when she died at the hands of her husband and son.

The prosecution called it "one of the worst cases of gross negligence" she'd ever seen.

Husband Robert Christopher Morgan, 61, and David Holyoak, 53, - Mrs Morgan's son from another relationship - were found guilty of manslaughter by a majority of 10 to two at Carlisle Crown Court.

The jury sat through weeks of harrowing evidence, hearing how the pair, who should've cared for her, watched as she wasted away and died.

They heard evidence that the pensioner was so weak she was unable to move before either called for help.

When paramedics were eventually called to help, her legs were infected with sores so deep her bones could be seen.

Prosecutor Iain Simkin said: “The prosecution case is that these two men, the first defendant, Dorothy Morgan’s husband, Robert Morgan, and her son by another man, David Holyoak, stood by and allowed, watched, as the deceased physically deteriorated in her own filth to such a point that even though medical assistance was eventually sought, Dorothy’s physical wellbeing and clinical condition were so bad that, even though she was in hospital, her death was an inevitability.”

When she was finally admitted to the West Cumberland Hospital, Mrs Morgan was found to be suffering from acute kidney failure, as a result of extreme dehydration, and sepsis.

She died 10 days later, on 4th February, 2021.

"I should've done more"

When Mr Morgan eventually called for help, he claimed his wife had “literally tried to starve herself to death” over several weeks and, he observed, “looks like something from a death camp."

He repeatedly claimed that his wife had been refusing medical help to the 999 caller.

Both Morgan and Holyoak said in evidence they were following Mrs Morgan’s wishes that no medical help be sought.

When asked by Mr Simkin what provisions there were to ensure Mrs Morgan was cared for, Holyoak replied: “I don’t remember any", adding “I should have done more.”

Security manager, Morgan, said he believed his wife wouldn’t have accepted help had it been offered sooner, and that “she intended to end her life”.

Both men had previously denied charges of manslaughter by gross negligence following the death of the 71-year-old.

The verdicts followed deliberations of 23 hours and 12 minutes by jurors.

Morgan closed his eyes as he was found guilty, while Holyoak bowed his head in the dock as he was convicted.

The case was adjourned for the preparation of pre-sentence reports.

Morgan and Holyoak, both of Calder Avenue, Whitehaven, are due to be sentenced at the crown court on 25 March.

Both men were granted bail after submissions by their respective barristers.

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