Monday 22 December 2014

Woman may have been dead for a year before brother called to home

Gareth Naughton

Published 13/09/2013 | 04:00

Brendan Dunphy and his wife Angela outside court

A WOMAN may have been dead in her apartment for more than a year before her body was found, an inquest has heard.

The body of Mary Fox (56) was discovered at her home at Cooldriona Court in Swords, north Dublin, on July 14 last year, days after a building society contacted her brother to say she was in arrears.

Brendan Dunphy told Dublin Coroner's Court that he had not seen his sister, who was an alcoholic and suffered from depression, for more than a year after she had fallen out with family and friends.

He said he believed she was in the care of mental health services at the Curam Clinic in Swords during that time.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Declan Murray said in a letter to the court that Ms Fox had been discharged from the clinic and back into the care of her GP in July 2010, having successfully completed treatment.

Ms Fox's GP, Dr Barry Moodley, wrote to the court to say that Ms Fox had last attended his clinic on April 21, 2011.

His medical card contract ended the next month, he said, and she was transferred into the care of another doctor.

Mr Dunphy first became aware that something was wrong when he was contacted by the building society over a debt he was a guarantor for.

He went to his sister's apartment, there was no answer and the chain was on the door.

Someone had also recently painted the door and it was sealed shut, he said.

He called gardai and they found Ms Fox's body.

HORRENDOUS

He said that the apartment was in a "horrendous" state and that on clearing out her post-box he took three bags of letters away, including social welfare cheques dating back a year.

Mr Dunphy said that when his sister was being treated by the Curam Clinic, he was not given any progress reports or asked about her background.

"We were given the impression they were looking after her," he said.

Mr Dunphy's wife Angela told the court the family has written to the Irish Medical Organisation regarding her sister-in-law's care.

"What I do not understand is where the back-up was from the health services.

"Where were the social workers?

"Why did they leave her in an apartment block on her own with no family and no friends," she said.

Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said that the decomposed state of the body meant that the pathologist was unable to establish a cause of death.

The inquest was adjourned until November.

Irish Independent

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