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Former teacher feared she would be poisoned if she ate food, inquest hears

PUBLISHED: 15:59 14 February 2019 | UPDATED: 15:59 14 February 2019

Norfolk's senior coroner Jacqueline Lake (pictured) conducted the inquest. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Norfolk's senior coroner Jacqueline Lake (pictured) conducted the inquest. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Archant Norfolk

A former teacher who died as a result of severe malnutrition feared she would be poisoned if she ate food, an inquest heard.

The inquest was held at the King's Centre in Norwich. Picture: STUART ANDERSONThe inquest was held at the King's Centre in Norwich. Picture: STUART ANDERSON

Grandmother Wendy Moore weighed just 28kg (4st 4lb) when she was admitted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in King’s Lynn last summer.

The 71-year-old was suffering from delusional thoughts and believed her brain was being controlled by a Malaysian cartel.

She was treated in hospital for malnutrition for more than two weeks, but died on August 4.

An inquest in Norwich on Thursday heard how Mrs Moore, of Seppings Road, Fakenham, had been living with mental ill health for three decades.

In a statement, her son Martin said she had a nervous breakdown in the early 1980s after she and her husband divorced.

He said while she sometimes had paranoid delusional thoughts, she was mostly able to look after herself independently.

Mr Moore said: “She would do all her own grocery shopping and housework up until the last few months where she started to deteriorate.”

The inquest heard how Mrs Moore developed an “unfounded mistrust” of people, including doctors, and last saw a GP in 2007.

But on July 18, 2018 she was taken to hospital after her son called an ambulance to her home as she could barely stand up.

Dr Andrew Douds, gastroenterologist at the QEH, said Mrs Moore was suffering from “severe malnutrition and mental health issues”.

She was put on a diet plan, but had to be sedated in order for an orogastric feeding tube to be fitted. The inquest heard how she later attempted to remove it.

Mental health professional Sherrilee Shackcloth said: “She [Mrs Moore] had a delusional belief the Malaysian cartel were controlling her brain and body.”

She said Mrs Moore also feared she would be poisoned if she ate food.

Mrs Moore was detained under the mental heath act at the hospital so she could continue to be treated. It was concluded she had psychotic depression.

Dr Helen Hobbiger, consultant anaesthetist, said Mrs Moore also developed an infection and had to be treated with antibiotics. She was also given antipsychotic medication.

Despite treatment it was felt her physical state was not recoverable. The decision was made to withdraw treatment and she died on August 4.

Giving a narrative conclusion, an inquest jury said her deteriorating physical health was aggravated by self neglect and contributed to by mental ill health, which was untreated until shortly before her death.

Her cause of death was multiple organ dysfunction due to severe malnutrition due psychosis with delusions.

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