Investigations are continuing after a 90-year-old Woonona nursing home resident was bashed to death with a walking stick by a fellow resident this week.
Police were called to the high-dependency dementia ward at IRT Woonona around 6.30pm on Tuesday, following reports of an assault between two patients.
On arrival police were notified that the 90-year-old man had suffered serious injuries and was unable to be revived by attending paramedics.
The second man, aged 77, did not sustain any injuries during the incident which occurred in the Flametree wing of the dementia ward.
Wollongong Police District Crime Manager Detective Inspector Brad Ainsworth said staff had found the 77-year-old wandering through the facility, and had tended to him before returning him to his room.
The Mercury understands staff had found blood on the man’s clothes, and subsequently found his walking stick with blood on it. They then found the older man and alerted authorities.
A crime scene was established and officers from Wollongong Police District, together with the State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad, are investigating.
Det Insp Ainsworth said the facility’s manager and staff were helping police with their inquiries.
“They’re the ones that have got to take care of these people and obviously it’s pretty trying circumstances,” he said.
“You’ve got to remember too that the deceased and the other person involved out there – they’re the grandfather and father of people.
“Their families have been informed and it’s an upsetting time for everybody.”
In a statement, IRT said that the organisation was unable to share further details of the incident until the police investigation was complete.
“IRT confirms that ... there was an incident in the dementia support unit of our aged care centre at Woonona which sadly resulted in the death of one of our residents,” the statement read.
“In accordance with our standard procedure we notified family of the two residents involved and all relevant authorities including NSW Police.
“The incident, which is now the subject of a police investigation, is believed to have involved two residents of the dementia support unit.
“We extend our sympathy to the family of the resident who passed away and our focus continues to be on care and support of all our residents, their families and our staff during this time.”
It’s not the first time an incident like this has occurred at the Woonona nursing home. On July 16, 2012, an 84-year-old resident died three days after he was allegedly bashed by another resident.
An inquest into Mervyn Campbell’s death found he died in Wollongong Hospital from complications of a blunt force head injury due to multiple blows to the head with a wooden door-stopper.
A report on Tuesday’s death will now be prepared for the Coroner.