Starved pensioner Gloria Foster died "with a total feeling of being lost"
A vulnerable pensioner who died after being left to starve for nine days died with a "total feeling of being lost", according to a friend.
Banstead widow Gloria Foster, 81, was left for nine days after the council-contracted agency supplying her with care was shut down by immigration police.
She was found dangerously dehydrated, with severe bed sores and only a faint pulse on Thursday, January 24, after going nine days without the four daily visits she was supposed to have. She died in Epsom Hospital yesterday.
Mrs Foster, in her 80s, was being looked after by nurses from Sutton-based Carefirst 24 and depended on them for her medication, food and drink.
The agency was raided and six people arrested on January 15 amid allegations the company had been employing illegal immigrants under the identities of former workers.
Both Surrey County Council and Sutton Council contracted work to the agency and alternative arrangements were supposed to have been made for all those affected. But Mrs Foster, who was under Surrey County Council's jurisdiction, did not get any replacement care.
Close friend Ann Penston, from Sutton, knew Mrs Foster since the 80s. She said: "She was a big woman, 5ft 10in or 6ft, and she would throw her head back and laugh. She always had this twinkle in her eye.
"She loved music, she had lots of classical music, she played bridge, golf, bowls, she conversation and she liked to go to the theatre.
"She became ill and the quality of her life was not brilliant but she did not deserve to go out like this - in agony with a total feeling of being lost.
"She had got to the stage of dozing during the day and I suspect when no-one turned up she just dozed through. She was on 14 or more tablets during the day. When that was taken away, with dementia, she would not know if it was day or night and would just have been lying there. I can't imagine how she was feeling."
Carefirst 24 had been looking after Mrs Foster for several years and Ms Penston said she had always been cared for very well until the day of the raid but now wants to know why she was apparently forgotten about.
She added: "[Surrey County Council] certainly hasn't been proactive. I can't understand how this has been allowed to happen. I don't know why they did not check to make sure everything was OK."
The UK Border Agency (UKBA), which coordinated the raid, held at least one meeting with both Surrey County Council and Sutton in the week before the raid.
A UKBA spokesman said: "The meeting was to make everyone aware of the fact that the raid was coming up and to give them the opportunity to provide alternative care.
"During the raid we handed over to police a list of clients found in the office. The police met the councils and the Care Quality Commission to go through that list."
A Surrey County Council spokesman 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."
The Local Government Ombudsman has said it will step in if the investigation is not deemed satisfactory.
All those arrested in the raid on Carefirst 24 have been bailed until dates in March.
Sutton Council says alternative arrangements were made for all its clients in Carefirst's care prior to the raid.