An unknown person who was driving disabled neglect victim Ann Marie Smith’s car racked up $2000 in traffic fines – and then used her cash to pay them.
An unknown person who was driving disabled neglect victim Ann Marie Smith’s car racked up $2000 in traffic fines – and then used her cash to pay them.

Someone used car of a woman who died from extreme neglect

A vehicle owned by disabled woman Ann Marie Smith was used by an unknown person on multiple occasions over a four-year period, it has been revealed.

The individual who used the silver Honda Accord - the latest occasion just weeks before her sickening and tragic death in April - racked up four traffic infringement notices worth $2000 during that period and then used Ms Smith's money to pay the fines.

As a result of the four traffic infringements, Ms Smith accumulated the maximum number of demerit points within a three-year period, making her ineligible to hold a driver's licence for three months in 2018 - even though she never held one.

Two of the traffic infringements were speed camera fines incurred on Gage St at Firle on the same day in August 2015, while the other two were red arrow camera offences on Main North Rd at Enfield in February 2018, and on Magill Rd at Norwood in January 2017.

Annie Smith's car caught by a red light camera with a mystery driver behind the wheel. Picture: SA Police
Annie Smith's car caught by a red light camera with a mystery driver behind the wheel. Picture: SA Police

The revelation comes just days after Major Crime detectives revealed $35,000 worth of custom-made gold hair clips and bangles are missing from Ms Smith's Kensington Park home.

Ms Smith - who preferred to be called Annie - died suffering septic shock from severe pressure sores, organ failure, extremely poor dental hygiene and malnutrition. Police have launched a manslaughter investigation into her death.

Detectives have not established who was driving Ms Smith's vehicle during the four-year period, but have revealed the vehicle was also taken from the garage of her Kensington Park home for several months earlier this year.

"It appears that sometime earlier this year a person had parked a smaller, older car with flat tyres in her garage and taken and used Annie's car,'' Major Crime case officer Detective Senior Sergeant Phil Neagle said.

"We would like to hear from anyone who saw her car being taken out of her garage earlier this year and again when it was returned shortly before her death.''

Annie Smith and some of the custom-made jewellery that has gone missing from her home.
Annie Smith and some of the custom-made jewellery that has gone missing from her home.

Although Ms Smith could not drive because of her disability, the Honda Accord was left to her when her mother passed away in 2009 and was registered in her name.

"Previous carers have told us they used to drive her around in the car for errands and to visit people, to go shopping and to visit a friend in the southeast,'' Snr-Sgt Neagle said.

"What is particularly disturbing is that between 2015 and 2018 there were four expiation notices issued in relation to the vehicle. The fines, which were in excess of $2000, were paid for by Annie."

Police have discovered the four fines were paid at post offices using Ms Smith's funds.

Police are seeking information from the public who may have seen Annie Smith's car being driven or moved between 2015 and 2018. Picture: SA Police
Police are seeking information from the public who may have seen Annie Smith's car being driven or moved between 2015 and 2018. Picture: SA Police

Ms Smith, 54, died in Royal Adelaide Hospital on April 6, the day after her carer Rosemary Maione, 69, called an ambulance to Ms Smith's Kensington Park home.

She was admitted to hospital in a semiconscious state, but after major surgery was given palliative care and passed away the next day.

After being advised several days later that Ms Smith died of septic shock and multiple organ failure due to neglect, police launched an investigation.

Initially examined by Coroner's Investigation Section investigators, the inquiry was upgraded and her death declared a major crime after her living conditions were examined and the extent of her neglect uncovered.

The Major Crime investigation is examining the criminal liability of those who had a responsibility to deliver appropriate care to Ms Smith.

Her carer for the past seven years, Ms Maione, was employed by provider Integrity Care (SA) Ltd until she was sacked on May 18 - just days after the police investigation was revealed.

Anyone with any information on who may have been driving the silver Honda Accord between 2015 and March this year or who left the older car in her garage this year is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Originally published as Annie Smith's car used by mystery driver



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