United Kingdom

NHS Nurse 'threw sickie to clean blood off seats of Mercedes after son kneecapped love rival'

An NHS nurse is facing up to ten years in jail after she agreed to become a 'cleaner' for her own son after he shot and wounded a love rival.

Patricia Dean, 58, called in sick at work to clear up after 28-year old Vincenzo De Falco when he kneecapped Jonathan Smith with a shotgun as the victim sat in the back of her car.

As police hunted her son, Dean, the specialist mental health nurse at a Manchester hospital had the Mercedes sports model undergo a full valet and deep clean at a car wash to removes traces of Mr Smith's blood.

A court heard then left the vehicle, which had been hired for her by the NHS, at the home of her unwitting sister in the hope police would not be able to find it.

NHS nurse Patricia Dean, 58, is facing up to ten years in jail after she became a 'cleaner' for her son Vincenzo De Falco (pictured together) after he kneecapped a love rival with a shotgun in the back of her car

Smith, 25, who was the ex-lover of De Falco's girlfriend was found dumped in the street in Rochdale and was taken to hospital with serious leg injuries. He underwent several hours of surgery for his wounds.

Police later recovered the Mercedes and found traces of his blood on the seals around the rear passenger compartment.

At Bolton Crown Court, Dean of Sowerby Bridge, West Yorks was found guilty by a jury of assisting an offender.

De Falco, of Bacup, Lancs, admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent at an earlier hearing. No motive was given for the shooting.

The court heard Mr Smith was attacked on January 21 2019 after being lured into the back of the Mercedes by De-Falco who had told friends he 'wanted to put the jitters' on someone.

As police hunted De Falco, the specialist mental health nurse at a Manchester hospital had the Mercedes sports model undergo a full valet and deep clean at a car wash in a bid to clean Smith's blood stains away

At Bolton Crown Court, Dean of Sowerby Bridge, West Yorks was found guilty by a jury of assisting an offender and could face up to ten years in jail

Philip Barnes prosecuting 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 - the shooter - 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 and then pushed Smith out of his car and onto the pavement before driving off.

'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.

The court heard De Falco fired his shotgun through the leg of Mr Smith - a ex-lover of De Falco's girlfriend - who was sitting in the Mercedes' back seat and then pushed his out the car and onto the pavement before driving off

De Falco, of Bacup, Lancs, admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent at an earlier hearing

'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.'

The following day Dean was seen at a car wash in the Heywood area at the wheel of the Mercedes and asked that it be given a full valet.

Mr Barnes added: '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.

Dean and De Falco were arrested on January 23 as she was driving the BMW. Dean later told police her son would 'never do anything like shoot somebody' and added: 'He tells me everything'

'Valiant effort though it was, it failed. Getting up every trace was impossible and so it was that Jonathan Smith's blood was found on the seals around the rear passenger compartment. Having washed that car, and thinking it to be forensically clean, Patricia Dean left it at the home of her sister where it might hopefully go unnoticed for a while.'

Dean and De Falco were arrested on January 23 as she was driving the BMW. Dean later told police her son would 'never do anything like shoot somebody' and added: 'He tells me everything.'

She claimed she had last driven the Mercedes the previous weekend, making no mention of her trip to the car wash.

In court she denied knowing about the shooting and said of her son: '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 admitted visiting her son but said it was because he had had an argument with his girlfriend Lucy Flux. She added: 'Lucy rang me and said: "Enzo's in trouble." She was just shouting. I said, "I will call you back in a bit."

'They had a very volatile relationship. I thought she was very much in control and didn't think she was right for him. I said I will come and see you as I thought they had had an argument. She seemed really upset. I said, "Do you want me to come up." She said, "Yes." I did not start prying and questioning. I was angry and upset.'

'When I got there Enzo was saying: "What are you doing here?" I said, "Well, she phoned me up." She was really angry. I wanted to find out what the argument was about.' 

She and De Falco will be sentenced in October. A friend of De Falco was acquitted of involvement. It is believed the firearm has not been recovered.

The charge of assisting an offender carries a maximum jail sentence of 10 years. 

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