Elder Abuse

What is Elder Abuse?

The World Health Organization defines Elder Abuse as:

“A single or repeated act or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person.” This was adopted from the UK's Action on Elder Abuse's 1993 definition. In Ireland, the definition adds "or violates their human and civil rights."

The European Council defines Edler Abuse as: “A non-accidental act or omission, which undermines the life, the physical and psychological integrity of an older person or harms the development of his or her personality and or undermines or damages his or her financial security.”

What are the signs of Elder Abuse?

Read again the answer to the above question. Signs of abusive behaviour towards an older person cannot be reduced to a checklist. Evil is very creative. Provided here is an amalgamation of signs of abuse gleaned from our research. It is by no means exhaustive. The bulleted entries are those that has received either direct proof or strong evidence of being pertinent in Dolores' case.

  • Unexplained, strange and/or inconsistent explanations for injuries such as bruises, welts, or scars
  • Broken bones, sprains, or dislocations
  • Signs of being restrained
  • Caregiver's resistance to allowing visitors to see the elder alone
  • Threatening, belittling, or controlling behavior witnessed towards elder
  • Evidence of overmedication or undermedication
Behavior from the elder that mimics dementia, such as rocking, sucking, or mumbling to oneself
  • Unusual weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration
  • Significant withdrawals from the elder's accounts
  • Sudden changes in the elder's financial condition
  • Items or cash missing from the senior's household
Untreated physical problems, such as bed sores
Unsanitary living conditions: dirt, bugs, soiled bedding and clothes
Being left dirty or unbathed
  • Unsuitable clothing or covering for the weather
  • Unsafe living conditions
Desertion of the elder at a public place
  • Suspicious changes in wills, power of attorney, titles, and policies
  • Financial activity the senior couldn't have done, such as an ATM withdrawal when the account holder is bedridden
  • Unnecessary services, goods, or subscriptions
Duplicate billings for the same medical service or device
  • Inadequate responses to questions about care
Confusion about own finances
  • Lack of financial choices/decisions
Failure to meet financial obligations
  • Discrepancy between income and standard of living
  • Not allowed to spend money without agreement of caregiver
  • Missing personal belongings.
  • Lack of safety precautions
  • Malnutrition, dehydration, weight loss
Untidy appearance, inappropriate clothing
Missing dentures, glasses, hearing aid, or mobility aids
  • Medical attention sought from a variety of doctors or clinics
  • History of accidents or injuries
  • Depression, fear
  • Repeated falls
Injury to scalp, evidence of hair pulling
  • Sadness
  • Fear of specific persons or being alone with them
  • Waiting for caregiver to respond to questions
Noticeable behavioural changes including avoiding eye contact
Changes in appetite
Difficulty sleeping or needing excessive sleep
  • Elder's personal belongings, papers, credit cards missing
  • Hesitation to talk openly

Who commits Elder Abuse?

Most elder abuse is caused by a family member of the victim. This could be a son, daughter, spouse, grandchild, or other relative. Recent studies in Ireland estimate that 84% of Elder Abuse is perpetrated by family members and close relatives. The most common perpetrator is a son or daughter. This family member is often dependent on the older person for money or a place to live. The abuser might have psychological or personal problems such as chronic unemployment, alcoholism, or an abundance of stress. There may be a history of violence within the family. The abuser may have mental health problems. The abuser often has a history of anti-social behaviour and violence.

Who reports Elder Abuse?

In Ireland, the breakdown of who reports Elder Abuse is as follows:
Very rarely (about 5% of cases) does the person being victimized report their abuse.
Very infrequently (about 14% of cases) do family members report the abuse.
Most Elder Abuse is reported by non-family members and health professionals.
Among the health professionals, Public Health Nurses report 40% of cases.
General Practitioners account for only 3% of referrals.

Who is required by law to report suspected Elder Abuse?

Laws very widely throughout the world in regards to who is required by law to report suspicions of Elder Abuse.
Some laws relate to specific places such as nursing homes, some laws relate to certain professions such as physician, home care-givers and clergy. For example, the list of Mandated Reporters of Elder Abuse in Connecticut include:

  • licensed physicians and surgeons and licensed or unlicensed residents and interns
  • registered and licensed practical nurses
  • nursing home administrators, nurse's aides, orderlies, and anyone else paid for providing care in a nursing home
  • patient advocates
  • medical examiners
  • dentists
  • osteopaths, optometrists, chiropractors, and podiatrists
  • psychologists and social workers
  • clergy
  • police officers
  • pharmacists
  • physical therapists

In the US, the states of Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, and Wyoming have enacted laws requiring anyone suspecting Elder Abuse to report it. Usually there are comprehensive public awareness campaigns. The image below is one image from Tennessee's public awareness effort:

Tennessee Elder Abuse Awareness Poster

In Ireland there are no Mandated Reporters defined by law for Elder Abuse.

There are no Mandated Reporters defined by law for child abuse.

How Prevalent is Elder Abuse?

Most studies indicate 3-6% of people over 65 years of age are abused during a given year. It is estimated between 12,000 and 24,000+ seniors are victims of Elder Abuse in Ireland. Studies elsewhere have concluded that only 1 in 23 cases are reported. In 2009 1870 cases of suspected Elder Abuse were reported in Ireland. That would mean well over 40,000 of Ireland's seniors are suffering abuse.



Who are you?

We are friends and family of Dolores Maxwell. Some of us are separated by generations, some by international boundaries, and some by continents. We are all united in our love of Dolores, and a desire for justice and change.

Why is this website still under construction?

Presenting Dolores' narrative, with the large amount of information we have been given, in an easily understood and easily navigable way is a non-trivial challenge. Please bear with us and check back. Updates occur often. You can also request notification via email when updates are published. Click here or copy and paste our email address:

Why are there flowers at the top of each page?

Dolores loved flowers, and loved to garden. The images we use at the top of each page were taken by one of Dolores' grandchildren. They are used here with the grandchild's permission and copyright is retained by Dolores' grandchild.

How is funded?

This site is supported exclusively through the website owners' funding. Donations are not accepted. No other funding is accepted.

Can I help this site to achieve its potential?

Absolutely! We are always grateful for any information about Dolores and the people, places and events surrounding her life. Photographs, documents, memories, etc. are always welcome. You are also invited to link to this site with no restrictions.
Alternative views of events are also very welcome.



Who or what is Alpine Memorials?

Alpine MemorialsAlthough you can find companies named “Alpine Memorials” in other English speaking countries, you will not be able to find one in Ireland or the U.K. Much like Mark Sinnott and Adrian Maxwell (see the FAQs below), Alpine Memorials doesn't exist. So why was the headstone on Dolores' grave sporting this gaudy plaque? And why was it removed all of a sudden?

The short answer is that it is yet another scam perpetrated by Ethan Maxwell with the aid of one of his long time associates, Rory Mulhall. The long answer, when published, will be found on the Recent Updates page.

Who is Mark Sinnott?

Although there are of probably many people named Mark Sinnott, the particular Mark Sinnott we refer to here does not exist, per se. The “Mark Sinnott” we are speaking of is actually one of Ethan's aliases. Inventing a solicitor's firm named Sinnott and Co. Solicitors, and using the then address of his associate and “family spokesman” Lloyd Montgomery, Ethan posed as solicitor Mark Sinnott, as he sought to intimidate some people he was trying to exert control over. We believe it to have been a classic shakedown attempt.

There are two Irish firms of solicitors that use the name “Sinnott.” Both firms confirmed they have never conducted their practice from that address. One firm confirmed they had never employed anyone named “Mark Sinnott.” The other firm confirmed no one named “Mark Sinnott” has worked there since at least 1865. A heavily redacted and typical missive from Ethan posing as solicitor Mark Sinnott: Letter from non-existant solicitor

On other occasions Ethan would take a different approach when trying to intimidate people with his letters – he would refer them to his solicitors, Jaggers and Brass.

Who is Adrian Maxwell?

Although there are of course many people named Adrian Maxwell, the particular Adrian Maxwell we refer to here does not exist, per se. The “Adrian Maxwell” we are speaking of is actually one of Ethan's aliases. This name was used in an attempted health insurance scam by Ethan that played out over several months in 2010. It was ultimately unsuccessful.

Who was Cecil Maxwell's Death Certificate Issued To?

Ethan Maxwell. It wasn't issued to his wife, Dolores, who would have needed it to deal with property, financial, and other issues. A much clearer picture of the circumstances and cause of Cecil's death and its aftermath is now emerging. will publish this disturbing information when appropriate.

After Dolores Changed Her Will, Why Did She Make Another One A Week Later?

Dolores' original will, made with Cecil, was superceded when she made a new will on May 28th, 2009. This was made and witnessed at her solicitor's office, witnessed by a solicitor and a legal secretary. On June 4th, 2009, one week later, she made her current will, witnessed in Rosslare.

Unlike any of the the previous wills, in this will Ethan Maxwell is named as executor.

It is also interesting to note that when Saoirse brought up the idea of lodging a caveat to Dolores' will, Dolores' solicitor Damian Brass strongly discouraged her and said he couldn't recall any previous wills. A few months later (after the deadline for lodging a caveat had passed), Damian Brass admitted that he had “…made a number of wills for Dolores.”

This time at least Damian Brass was telling the truth. Documents provided to reveal at least four (and it seems more likely to be five) wills made in the 18 month period following the death of Dolores' husband Cecil, as her youngest son Ethan consolidated his control over Dolores' life and purse.

Who Witnessed the Rosslare Will?

According to the will,it was Mr Taxi Driver and his wife. See The Taxi Letter.

Yet Mr Taxi Driver stated that he never witnessed, signed or even saw Dolores' will. His wife, the second “witness” to Dolores' will, stated that she can't recall if Dolores signed her will in her presence.

This will was “executed” a few days after a will was made in the offices of Jaggers and Brass, Dolores' solicitor. It was also “executed” in Rosslare, far from any solicitor's offices or sight.

It is of course a requirement that a will is signed by the Testator in the presence of the witnesses and that they witness the will being signed.

Dolores' executors were made aware of these statements on June 17. The executors of Dolores' estate were requested by one of Dolores' beneficiaries to clarify the standing of these witnesses to Dolores' will. It was suggested that Affidavits of Attending Witness be sought from Mr Taxi Driver and his wife.

We cannot tell if this was sought, as the beneficiary who requested this has received no answer or clarification from the executors. It's been with no response from Jaggers and Brass on this matter. We do know that no Affidavits of Attending Witness have been registered with the Probate Office. makes no judgement concerning whether or not the statements made by Mr Taxi Driver and his wife are true. We do have absolute confidence in this: the fact that they made these statements is undeniable and proven.
Did Dolores Write A Letter On September 3, 2010?

Apparently Ethan desires someone to believe that she did.

On November 4, 2010, during Dolores' hospitalization, access to her house in Rosslare was finally gained. As reported elsewhere, Ethan had sanitized and prepared the house to his satisfaction. He cut the power, phone, alarm, and water to Dolores' house, and finally turned the front door key over to Dolores' solicitor.

[Editor's note: It is assumed Ethan retained possession of the keys for the side gates, back door, and garden shed. These keys were not in Dolores' house, and have never been located, to our knowledge. ]

The solicitor, the HSE Elder Abuse Caseworker, Nathaniel and Saoirse opened the house. A letter addressed to Ethan, “from Dolores” had been prominently placed for them to find. This letter, which was computer generated, was signed with Dolores' name. It gave control of her house to Ethan. It was dated September 3, 2010.

Of course on Thursday, September 3, Dolores was in Wexford General Hospital, having been admitted the evening before with a very flushed face, bruises, confusion, amnesia, and heart irregularities. It was reported she had been confused for three days, experienced loss of consciousness while watching TV, had been hallucinating, and that her speech was slurred. She had no recollection of being transported in the ambulance.

We have much information about this admission that will be presented at the appropriate time. For now, let us say that no, we do not believe Dolores, who did not type or use a computer, generated this letter. We do not believe she signed it.

We do believe this letter was crafted by Ethan after Dolores' final September 26 admission as a way to justify certain things he did between September 24 and October 20.

The “Letter From Dolores” Letter purported from Dolores

What is €500,000

€500,000 is the approximate figure that evidence indicates Dolores and Cecil Maxwell lost to Ethan. This was realised in a number of ways including violence, threat of violence, coercion, use of non-authorized accounts (including credit cards, ATM's and cheques), property transfer and outright theft. This is equal to about £439,000 or $714,000.

What is €40,825.82

€40,825.82 is the figure that evidence indicates Ethan sought to realise from another set of victims.

What is 8°C?

8°C was the temperature in Rosslare at 12.15am, September 26, 2010. Dolores was rushed to Wexford General Hospital on that date. It's equal to about 48°F.

What is Warfarin?

Warfarin (named after the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation) was patented in 1941 as a rat poison. It acts by inhibiting coagulation of the blood. It is still used as a rat and mouse poison today, and has even been proven effective on vampire bats.

It is used in humans to prevent clots, as a so-called “blood-thinner”, and in heart transplant patients. It is the most prescribed anti-coagulant in the world. It must be monitored very carefully and on a regular basis through the means of blood tests. Failure to exactly follow dosage instructions is extremely dangerous. Cranberry juice should never be consumed by anyone taking Warfarin.

Dolores was on a Warfarin regimen.

What is Eight Percent?

Eight percent is the amount of body mass Dolores Maxwell lost between September 8 and September 26, 2010.

How long did Dolores Maxwell's post-mortem take?

165 days. According to the HSE, the post-mortem report takes at least six weeks to complete. Toxicology screens will add more time. In certain complex cases the final report may take longer.

[Editor's note: We have been provided a copy the Coroner's report. Members of have also provided the pathologist conducting the examination with pertinent information and evidence.]

[Editor's note addendum: Members of have urgently provided more evidence and information to the Coroner's office following revelations gleaned from recent receipt of materials under FOI. We will openly present it when appropriate. June 8, 2011 ]

[Editor's note addendum 2: We know now that the information sent to the pathologist on June 8 was too late to affect this initial process, with Dolores' official death certificate being issued May 15.

Although at least one member of was on the notification list with the Coroner, it was only found out through a third interested party (a month or so later) that the certificate was issued. This member had also requested the pathologist's office to inform her when the post-mortem was complete.

We see nothing nefarious about the failure to notify our member by the Coroner, even though the Coroner's office has procedures in place and a responsibility to do so. It's Ireland.

We await the full post-mortem results, and will seek further inquiry by the Coroner's office into Dolores' death.
See An Open Letter to the Coroner for some of the information members of provided.]

Was Dolores Maxwell simultaneously in Bray and Wexford the week of
          September 26, 2010?

No. She was in the Critical Care Unit of Wexford General Hospital that week. She was admitted Sunday, September 26 at 2:49am. Ethan was with her. Ethan instructed the hospital that he was her sole next of kin, and not to inform any family members or anyone about Dolores, or give out any information whatsoever. He had also claimed that all of Dolores' other nine children were resident outside of Ireland. There is absolutely no doubt that Dolores was in the CCU that week.

On that same evening Ethan called Dolores' home carer, Helen Jackman to inform her he was in his car on his way back home to Dublin. He told her Dolores was in the car with him, and that she would be staying with him all that week. So there was no need for Helen's daily half-hour home care visit with Dolores.

It was directly because of that call that the rest of Dolores' family eventually found out on October 1 that their mother was gravely ill in the hospital.

What is an oximeter?

An oximeter is the little device that slips over your finger to measure the oxygen saturation in your blood. Irish EMT's use an oximeter which is integrated in their defibrillator pack. Dolores' oxygen saturation on September 26, 2010 when the ambulance arrived was 100%.

The type of oximeter used by Irish EMTs is known as a “pulse oximeter.” Pulse oximeters mis-represent carbon monoxide as oxygen.


World Elder Abuse Awareness Day UN Declaration of Human Rights European Year for Active Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity Towards a Society for All Ages