‘Very sad’ - coroner concludes open verdict after woman found months after she died
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A woman’s body was found in her home by council workers months after she died, an inquest has heard.
Elizabeth Jeffcoat’s body was discovered on June 16 this year by Norfolk County Council workers at her flat in Hanover Road, Norwich.
An inquest held into the 47-year-old’s death on Wednesday heard staff gained access to the property after she had not responded to messages to arrange a gas inspection.
Staff discovered Miss Jeffcoat in her bedroom and phoned 999.
PC Liam Abigail said in his written evidence Miss Jeffcoat had been dead for a number of months.
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In his inspection of the house the officer said he found tablets and food in the fridge dated December 2019.
PC Abigail said a neighbour described Miss Jeffcoat as “quite reclusive” and as someone who spent most of her time inside.
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The inquest heard the officer began a search to trace a next of kin through the emergency services and her GP surgery, who had no information.
The officer said a further search of the house was carried out and checks of her home phone, mobile, laptop, unopened post and personal documents led to no next of kin being found.
A post mortem said a cause of death was unascertained due to the condition of Miss Jeffcoat’s body.
Miss Jeffcoat was born on July 5 1972 in Edinburgh, and moved to Norwich in 2015.
Dr John Keep, of St Stephen’s Gate Medical Practice, where Miss Jeffcoat had been a patient said the practice were saddened by her death.
The doctor, who had treated Miss Jeffcoat over the years due to her chronic back pain, described her as a “bright, alert and happy individual” who engaged with her treatment.
He added: “She was doing particularly well and I had no concerns regarding her mental health.
Norfolk’s senior coroner Jacqueline Lake concluded an open conclusion to a “very sad inquest”.
She said: “She had been deceased some months and due to this the post mortem was unable to give a cause of death. There is no evidence as to the means by which Miss Jeffcoat came by her death and the only conclusion can be an open conclusion.
“This concludes this very sad inquest.”