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Inquest held into Norwich woman Josephine Dougan found dead in her flat

PUBLISHED: 08:01 18 May 2017 | UPDATED: 08:01 18 May 2017

Retired factory worker Josephine Dougan, of Northumberland Road, Norwich, was discovered on October 29 last year. 
Photo: Simon Finlay

Retired factory worker Josephine Dougan, of Northumberland Road, Norwich, was discovered on October 29 last year. Photo: Simon Finlay

Archant © 2005

A woman who was found dead in front of her TV by her son died from unknown causes, an inquest heard.

Retired factory worker Josephine Dougan, of Northumberland Street, Norwich, was discovered on October 29 last year.

Her son, Andrew Sudder, said his mother had suffered from various medical ailments including “severe” arthritis and asthma.

No family members were present at her inquest in Norwich yesterday, but Mr Sudder’s statement was read out at the hearing.

He described his mother as being a “very heavy smoker” who “did not clean up” and would hoard. He said he had gone round to his mother’s flat on October 29 after not hearing from her for a few days.

Mr Sudder said: “I could see mum slumped forward in her chair directly in front of the TV, and the TV was loud as she was partly deaf.

“I shouted mum several times to see if she was just asleep, but I got no response.”

After realising she was dead, he called the ambulance service and police to the property.

A statement from the attending police officer said there was no evidence of any third-party involvement in her death.

Her GP, Dr Watt, said Mrs Dougan suffered from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, high blood pressure, anxiety and a possible personality disorder. He said she was taking a variety of medication.

But the inquest heard how a pathologist was unable to ascertain a cause of death for Mrs Dougan.

Traces of her medication were found in blood and urine tests, but were said to be at “normal” levels for therapeutic use.

Senior coroner Jacqueline Lake said the only option was to record an open conclusion.

Mrs Dougan’s inquest, held in Norwich, took place a decade after the 68-year-old went on trial accused of killing pensioner Elsie Reese in June 2005.

Mrs Dougan was cleared of murder in 2007, but was jailed for two-and-a-half years after she admitted stealing from the great-grandmother.

Her criminal past, which included a previous conviction for burglary and theft from patients in hospitals, was not mentioned during the inquest.

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