DPP to appeal sentence in Evelyn Joel neglect case

Penalty of 240 hours of community service each to be appealed on grounds of leniency

The sentence in the trial of a couple found guilty of death by neglect is to be appealed by the Director of Public Prosecution less than a month after it was imposed.

Eleanor Joel (38) and Jonathan Costen (40), of Cluain Dara, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, were found guilty of the neglectful death of Evelyn Joel in 2006 at Wexford Circuit Criminal Court in November last year. The trial had previously been heard in October of 2011.

They were sentenced to 240 hours of community service each in lieu of two years in prison when they attended a sentencing hearing on March 4th this year. The penalty is to be appealed on grounds of leniency.

The defendants received a notice of the appeal just before Easter and they are now expected to appear before the Court of Criminal Appeal. It is likely to take at least a year before the case is heard.


Evelyn Joel, mother of the defendant, died at Wexford General Hospital on January 7th, 2006, after she was removed from the defendants’ home six days earlier. Mrs Joel, a multiple sclerosis sufferer, was found lying in her own filth by the emergency services. State Pathologist Marie Cassidy gave evidence at both hearings that Mrs Joel had died from pneumonia.

The sentencing at the beginning of March had been expected to bring the landmark trial to a close. Joel and Costen are the first people in the history of the State to be tried for such an offence.