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Woman's body may have lain undiscovered for weeks as Suffolk coroner records open verdict

By Newmarket Journal Reporter

They were able to identify 74-year-old Lourdes Carter using DNA taken from her son
They were able to identify 74-year-old Lourdes Carter using DNA taken from her son

The cause of death of a pensioner whose badly decomposed body was found barricaded inside her home remains a mystery, an inquest has been told.

Such was the state of decomposition that police did not realise there was a body there when they first searched the house in Eldon Lane in Holywell Row.

Officers made the grisly discovery when they checked the property for a second time. They were unable to ascertain whether the body was that of a man or a woman. It appeared to have lain undiscovered for weeks.

The remains were eventually identified as those of 74-year-old Lourdes Carter using a sample of DNA taken from her son, an inquest in Ipswich heard on Monday.

Police had been alerted to concerns for Mrs Carter in July last year after she failed to keep an appointment with social services and was not answering phone calls or responding to letters.

The inquest did not hear any evidence as to when Mrs Carter may have last been seen alive. Officers who went to her home were confronted with locked gates, barbed wire and windows boarded up from the inside.

Inside the house was said to be in a squalid condition with bagged and rotting debris everywhere and rubbish piled up, blocking the doorway.

What remained of Mrs Carter’s body was discovered on the floor near a sofa.

The inquest heard that because of the condition of the body, a post mortem examination, conducted at 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.

Suffolk coroner Nigel Parsley recorded an open verdict.

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