A frail 93-year-old grandmother has shared her shock after discovering her granddaughter trashed her beloved family home while she lay oblivious in a care home.
Shirley Rees is battling dementia but still has fond memories of her 100-year-old home. However, appearing on Channel Nine’s A Current Affair, her son Merrick said she’d shiver if she were to see it now.
“It is a shambles, it’s been raped, pillaged, plundered, every room of the house is trashed,” he said on the show. “She’d be just horrified, she’d be broken-hearted.”
Cameras captured footage inside the home showing what appeared to be rubbish on the floor, and stacks of belongings completely covering every surface. At one point, a camera even captured a huge hole in one of the walls and damage around it.
The home was originally built by Merrick’s grandfather at Speers Point, near Newcastle in New South Wales, 100 years ago. Having happily lived there ever since, Shirley eventually had to move into a nursing home six-and-a-half years ago after suffering a stroke.
Speaking on camera, Merrick said he and his sister Alana promised their mother they’d take care of her and her home. Tragically, Alana passed away from cancer in 2016, leaving her daughter Thea to take over her joint responsibility.
Her and Merrick agreed she could live in the home with Merrick insisting on the show that she had “by all accounts” promised to care for it – but the opposite happened.
It recently even became the site of a nine-hour police stand-off with a wanted suspect, and it prompted Merrick to visit the home to try and retrieve some of his mum’s belongings – where he found the destruction inside. He also claimed he couldn’t find his mum’s jewellery, including her wedding rings.
“Mum’s jewellery’s basically gone, can’t be located, dad’s ride-on mowers are gone, the tools are all gone,” he said. “I’m led to believe that they’ve been sold off, hocked, pawned or whatever. It’s heartbreaking, it’s everything my mum and dad worked for.”
The program’s reporters attempted to speak to Thea in the street but she refused to comment, and when pressed, even lashed out at the camera crew.
While she was initially unaware of the deception, after discovering the truth, Shirley said on camera: “I always thought that they respected me.”