Mavae Tangi Filimoehala
NZ Herald story here
From the Sunday Star Times 1st August 1999
The mother of a mentally ill woman beaten to death by the family she lived with would rather her daughter had been locked in an old- style mental institution than left to fend for herself. In an emotional appeal, Isobel Edwards said the Government had to do more to treat and keep safe the mentally ill. Her daughter, Angelina Edwards (25), died in April last year of peritonitis when a gastric ulcer perforated. A jury found the death was the result of an horrendous catalogue of beatings at the hands of some Filimoehala family members. The beatings occurred during the last two years of Edwards's life, while she was a psychiatric outpatient staying with the Mangere family, and involved a baseball bat, cricket bat and steel bar.
"The Government needs to bring back hospitals which help mental patients," Isobel Edwards said. "There's nowhere for families to turn to. Families can't cope. It's not good enough. These people need proper help and proper care." The first sign of mental illness occurred when Edwards was 16. She retreated to her bedroom where she stayed, staring blankly at the walls, for four days. For the next nine years she was in and out of psychiatric care. Isobel and her former husband Russell Edwards said she was not properly diagnosed and her longest stay in hospital was about six weeks. They are angry that she became pregnant to another patient.
That child, Aaron (4), is being raised by Isobel Edwards, who believes people with mental health disorders should be forced to go on contraception. "Ange could not care for her child. She should never have been able to get pregnant." Isobel Edwards said she had to talk Angelina out of trying to have more children. A complaint has been made to the director of mental health, Janice Wilson, who said while some evidence was considered before the court case began, a decision on whether to investigate would not be made "until the judicial process was complete". Detective Senior Sergeant Richard Middleton believes Edwards was initially beaten to coerce her to sign over her $168 weekly sickness benefit to Moana Filimoehala.
After it was signed over she was not taken to see a doctor again. Middleton is convinced this was because the family feared the abuse being exposed. He said he hesitated to use the word evil but "the psyche in the house at that time was that Ange was the punch bag and they literally couldn't keep their hands off her long enough for her injuries to heal". When they did take her to hospital, when she was unconscious, it was too late. Middleton said mental health authorities could have done better keeping tabs on Edwards, who had a history of not taking medication, but the primary responsibility for her death lay with the Filimoehalas.
"If Ange had been living with a half-pie normal family she wouldn't have fallen through the cracks in the mental health service." A jury on Friday found Moana Leslie Filimoehala (39) guilty on two separate counts of manslaughter, and her husband, Mavae Tangi Filimoehala (52), daughter Kalina Mamata Filimoehala (20) and a 17- year-old youth who has interim name suppression, guilty on one count each of manslaughter. A son, Siope Fotofili Filimoehala (18), was found guilty of injuring Angelina Edwards with intent to cause her grievous bodily harm. The five are to be sentenced in a month.
Date of Birth
Mavae Filimoehala junior
Sentenced to 10 years in September 1999
Released March 2006
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