High Court judge welcomes woman’s return to nursing home after removal by son

Judge says man ‘manipulated his mother for his own satisfaction’

The plaintiff claims her brother has attempted to access their mother’s home by instructing a locksmith to change the locks on the property and has tried to access their mother’s finances. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA

A High Court judge has welcomed the return of an elderly and vulnerable woman to the nursing home from which her son allegedly unlawfully removed her.

Mr Justice David Nolan said the woman’s son had “manipulated his mother for his own satisfaction” and failed to comply with a court order, obtained by the woman’s daughter, to return her to the facility.

The parties cannot be named.

The judge said that as far as he was concerned the man had effectively been in contempt of a court order in respect of his mother.

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The judge made the remarks on Wednesday evening, after earlier being told that the orders granted late last week against the woman’s son had not been complied with.

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The man, who was legally represented and attended court, said when the case was called on Wednesday morning that his mother was “vehemently opposed” to being in the facility.

The man also claimed that he had made an attempt to return her to the facility over the weekend.

However, the judge, who did not accept the man’s version of that event, told him that unless his mother was returned by him to the staff at the nursing home, he would be jailed for contempt of court.

The man was then given a few hours to comply.

Senior counsel John Donnelly, appearing with Catherine Duggan, instructed by BHSM LLP solicitors, for the woman’s daughter, told the court when the matter returned on Wednesday evening that the woman had been returned to the home.

Counsel said that in light of this his client was seeking the extension of other orders granted last week by the court.

Counsel said his client, who has been granted formal power of attorney over her mother by the courts, has serious concerns that her sibling is trying to manipulate and control their mother.

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The woman’s daughter also says her sibling is “not a suitable person” to be entrusted with their mother’s care.

The plaintiff also claims her brother has attempted to access their mother’s home by instructing a locksmith to change the locks on the property and has tried to access their mother’s finances.

Mr Justice Nolan said he was prepared to extend orders restraining the woman’s son from removing her from that or any other facility where she is resident and from interfering with his mother’s ongoing care and medical treatment.

The woman’s son is also prevented from having contact with her, and was ordered to remove his items from his mother’s home.

The judge, who heard from the man’s lawyers that any prohibition from contacting his mother would be difficult, said he would review the situation in a few weeks’ time.

The court previously heard that the elderly woman is a vulnerable individual who suffers from a cognitive condition. She has been medically assessed as being incapable of looking after her own affairs, counsel said.

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As a result of being granted power of attorney over her mother, the woman’s daughter has general authority to act on her mother’s behalf and in relation to her personal care decisions.

She has also taken steps to secure her mother’s assets including her bank accounts and her mother’s family home.