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Remains of woman, 74, discovered in rubbish-strewn house, inquest told

Suffolk Coroner's Court
Suffolk Coroner's Court

A forensic scientist had to be called in to help identify the remains of a woman found in a rubbish-strewn Suffolk house, an inquest has been told.

Police called at the home of Lourdes Carter, 74, in Eldon Lane, Holywell Row, on July 21 last year after she failed to keep a social services appointment and did not answer phone calls or letters.

The inquest today (Monday) at Suffolk Coroner’s Court in Ipswich, heard that police found barbed wire, gates locked and the windows of the house boarded up from the inside.

After officers cleared enough rubbish away from the door they were able to get inside where an initial search failed to locate Mrs Carter but because of a strong smell, a second check was carried out.

Suffolk area coroner Nigel Parsley said it was then that the badly decomposed remains of a body were found on the floor near the foot of a sofa. It was not possible to ascertain whether it was the remains of a man or a woman and DNA tests were ordered leading to results which indicated that they were those of Mrs Carter.

Forensic scientist James Chapman who conducted the tests was able to use a sample of DNA from Mrs Carter’s son to reach his conclusion.

A police report described the interior of the house as ‘squalid’ with bagged and rotting debris everywhere. Outside it was found that the mail box had not been emptied for some time.

The inquest heard that because of the condition of the body, a post mortem examination conducted at the West Suffolk Hospital by consultant pathologist Dr Carl Love was unable to identify a cause of death, although toxicology tests ruled out the presence of any drugs.

Area coroner Mr Parsley recorded an open conclusion.

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