Monday 18 December 2017

Pensioner lay dead in house for two months before being found

Coroner Dr Brian Farrell returned an open verdict
Coroner Dr Brian Farrell returned an open verdict

Gareth Naughton

The body of a pensioner was found in her bedroom after a neighbour noticed that her curtains were "alive with bluebottles", an inquest has heard.

Maureen O'Reilly (79) had been dead for up to two months before she was found at her home at College Drive, Terenure, Dublin, on June 17 last year.

Dublin Coroner's Court heard from her niece Denise Church that she was a very private woman who did not like letting people into the house and maintained contact via letter. The family would meet up with her every two to three months and on special occasions.

Ms O'Reilly suffered from diabetes. Her neighbour, Monica Dinan, said that she remembered going into the house at some point in the two months prior to the discovery and Ms O'Reilly showed her her legs which were very swollen. She advised her to see a doctor but she would not go to the doctor or a hospital, she said.

The alarm was raised by another neighbour, Vera Carroll, who became concerned for Ms O'Reilly having not seen her since March. She spoke to the dead woman's next-door neighbour who told her that he could hear the radio in the house at night.

She said when she looked toward the bedroom window she could see that "the curtains were alive with bluebottles". She contacted Ms O'Reilly's sister who said she had not heard from her. She then called gardai to inform them of her concerns.

Garda Shay Kilbride told the Coroner that on arrival he also saw that the windows were "covered in flies" and there was a lot of mail in the porch.

When he opened the letter box to call out to see if anyone was home, he could hear a loud television. The windows were all closed.


He forced the front door open. The heat was "overwhelming", he said, with electric heaters in both the living room and the kitchen. When he went upstairs he found the door of the front bedroom slightly ajar but when he tried to push it, it would not open. Ms O'Reilly's body was slumped against the door and in a decomposed state, he said.

The post-mortem examination was carried out by former deputy state pathologist Dr Khalid Jaber. However, he was unable to give a cause of death due to the decomposition. There were no injuries to suggest any trauma inflicted to the body, Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said.

Ms O'Reilly was last seen by her family in March and mail from mid-April had been found opened in the house. Garda Kilbride said there were no suspicious circumstances and nothing to suspect that the death was self-inflicted. Dr Farrell returned an open verdict.

Irish Independent

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