Patricia Dean, 58, a mental health nurse in the United Kingdom, is facing criminal charges after she cleaned up a mess in her company car, which she received through the National Health Service.
Investigators say she called in sick to work after her son, 28-year-old Vincenzo De Falco, injured a love rival in the car with a shotgun. She used her time off to clean up the mess and cover her son’s tracks, but it didn’t take long for the authorities to figure out what happened.
A Bloody Joy Ride
Authorities say Dean would regularly lend the car to her son. They searched for De Falco after he kneecapped another man, Jonathan Smith, with a shotgun at point blank range as the victim sat in the back of the Mercedes sports car.
While the police were out looking for De Falco, Dean called in sick to work so she could take the car, which she leases from the NHS, to a valet to have it deep cleaned.
She then left the car at her sister’s house in hopes that the police wouldn’t find it.
Smith, 25, was the ex-boyfriend of De Falco’s current girlfriend. Authorities say Smith was left bloody in the street and was taken to the hospital with serious leg injuries, where he underwent several hours of surgery.
Later, the police found the Mercedes car. They discovered traces of blood in between the seats.
In court, prosecutors said that De Falco originally lured Smith into the car after telling his friends he “wanted to put the jitters” on someone.
De Falco eventually admitted to causing grievous bodily harm with intent, but no motive was given for the crime.
The court also found Dean guilty on one count of assisting the offender.
During the trial, prosecutor Philip Barnes said, “That car was a lease hire vehicle, hired to Patricia Dean via her employer, the National Health Service. She herself had another car, a BMW but her son, it seems, drove the Mercedes.”
“Mr. Smith was shot through the front of the left leg, at point blank range, with a shotgun while he was sitting in the back of the Mercedes. De Falco had been sitting in the front seat of that car and had turned and fired his shotgun through the leg of Mr. Smith, who was sitting in the rear. He then pushed Smith out of his car and onto the pavement before driving off.”
Barnes then added:
“In the hour that followed, De Falco made repeated telephone contact with his girlfriend who had also been the ex-girlfriend of Jonathan Smith – the man he shot. She then called Patricia Dean and told her what had happened. Within minutes, Patricia Dean was on the move to where her son lived and they met in order to work out what on earth they were going to do, and how they were going to try to cover De Falco’s tracks.”
“Patricia Dean, for her part, arranged for the Mercedes to be thoroughly and deeply cleaned in an effort to remove all traces of Smith’s shooting. She sent messages to her supervisors at work, suddenly telling them that she wouldn’t be in the next day, or indeed the rest of the week, as she was suddenly and mysteriously unwell. We suggest that she had rather more serious things to worry about than her attendance record at work.”
Witnesses report seeing Dean at a local car wash on the day of the assault.
Barnes said, “It was cleaned for over an hour and during the process, she repeatedly asked the operative to clean the back seats thoroughly and was seen inspecting the back seats of the vehicle closely. The worst of the mess would plainly have been cleaned before she took it to the car wash – nobody would take it for a valet full of blood as it must have been – but this was about scouring out any trace of Jonathan Smith’s blood in there.”
When Dean and De Falco were arrested earlier this year, Dean claimed her son would never shoot anybody. She also said, “He tells me everything.”
During the trial, Dean also denied knowing about the shooting.
“I was not aware that he had done that. I did not know what happened – I had absolutely no idea. I have got nothing to hide.”
She also explained that her son and his girlfriend had a volatile relationship.
Both Dean and De Falco will be charged in October. Dean faces a penalty of up to 10 years in jail.