Neglected OAP had wounds so rotten his skin fused to the armchair he died on

An elderly man was left to die from open wounds so badly infected his skin merged with the chair he sat in, an inquest in New Zealand heard.

As brave-stomached ambulance staff prised Lanitola Epinisa off his final resting place, his skin fell off.

His two twin daughters, who were aged 16 at the time, were in the room with him, the NZ Herald reports.

Lanitola was found sitting in his own encrusted poo and had maggot eggs in his hip.

A grim sepsis blood infection caused pressure sores which were so deep muscle and bone could be seen through his bum.

Now, Malia Li – Lanitola’s wife – is standing trial for manslaughter and is accused of gross negligence.

Crown prosecutor Jasper Rhodes told a jury: “He died while under direct care and control of his wife, the only adult who had sustained interaction with him…

“Someone who had been married to Mr Epenisa for the better part of 20 years.”

Li’s care was “grossly negligent” and cannot be blamed on a temporary moment of forgetfulness, the Crown says.

"He was not being rushed to hospital when it was abundantly clear he needed life saving treatment," Rhodes added.

But Li, who has only just been named publicly, denies the charge of manslaughter.

A “disgusting smell” lingered long before Lanitola’s death, the jury heard.

The room he died in had rubbish, bags of soiled clothes and a nest of mice.

In the dock at the Auckland High Court, the defendant sat with a Tongan translator before Justice Edwin Wylie and a jury of five women and seven men.

She is charged with failing to provide her vulnerable husband with adequate nourishment, hydration, medical care and hygiene between January 29 and October 2, 2016, in Māngere.

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Li also turned away family who wanted to check on Lanitola or offer help and left him without food or water for long periods of time, prosecution said.

A series of strokes in 2014 meant he had to stop his rock wall building business and was regularly forced to go to hospital.

Li agreed to care for her husband after his first stroke.

He didn’t have enough money to afford to rent a home in Hillsborough so moved to a Tongan village-run community house until 2016.

They then moved again into a relative’s house in Māngere before Lanitola died.

The top judge told jurors to put aside feelings of sympathy and deliver a verdict in a "cool, calm, dispassionate manner".

Defence lawyer Mark Ryan will make opening remarks on Li’s behalf at the trial, which is expected to take six weeks.

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