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Banstead widow left without water or food after Sutton care agency closed down dies in hospital

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A VULNERABLE widow abandoned for nine days without food, water or medication while her Sutton care agency was under investigation has died in hospital.

Gloria Foster, 81, was left in her Banstead home without her daily carers after police and the UK Border Agency raided the company that looked after her and arrested staff members.

The pensioner was taken to Epsom Hospital suffering from starvation and dehydration but died on Monday. An investigation was launched immediately.

Reigate MP Crispin Blunt described Gloria Foster's ordeal as horrific.

He added: "I am very sorry to hear that Mrs Foster has sadly passed away. Clearly there are questions to answer, and I would expect a comprehensive investigation between all of the agencies involved.

"I would certainly not like to pre-judge any more of the narrative before it is formally established. Monday's desperately sad developments can only increase the salience of that need."

Officers from the UK Border Agency and Metropolitan Police raided the Upper Mulgrave Road offices of Carefirst24 on January 15. They arrested four people on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and conspiracy to assist foreign nationals. They were bailed until April.

Speaking immediately after the raid, Detective Inspector Sarah Rees said: "This morning's operation was a good example of the Met Police in Sutton and the UK Border Agency working closely together to protect elderly and vulnerable people and to keep them safe."

The Surrey Safeguarding Adults Board will now be carrying out an urgent review of Gloria Foster's case.

County council spokeswoman Joy Ridley said: "We're very sad to hear about Mrs Foster's death and our thoughts are with her family and friends at this difficult time.

"The safety of vulnerable adults is our top priority, which is why this tragic event is already being urgently looked at by the Surrey Safeguarding Adults Board."

A Surrey Police spokesman said: "We were made aware of concerns surrounding the care of an elderly lady from Banstead. The concerns were raised by hospital staff providing treatment to the woman in her 80s at the end of January.

"Officers from the Public Protection Investigation Unit at Surrey Police carried out inquiries and it was deemed that the Surrey Safeguarding Adults Board would be the appropriate agency to investigate further."

No one from Carefirst24 answered calls for a comment.


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