An 82-year-old private, reclusive and deeply religious woman had been dead for almost three months when her body was discovered in her house at Knock, Co. Mayo, an inquest in Castlebar was told yesterday (Monday).
A neighbour raised the alarm with gardai after noticing that the curtains were drawn in Irene Daly’s home at 52 Glencarra, Knock, and bluebottles were visible in her windows.
The body of Mrs. Daly, a widow, who was retired, was discovered by an investigating garda located between a bedroom and a bathroom located on the landing at the top of the stairs.
The remains were so decomposed that DNA tests were needed to conclusively prove the dead woman’s identity.
Garda Jason Lardner told an inquest in Castlebar today (Monday) that the dead woman had written a message on three A4 pages posted on her front door reading “I don’t need anything. I am very well. I have everything”.
Medical evidence was given to the hearing that the cause of death was due to lobar pneumonia.
Dr. Fadel Bennani, consultant pathologist, said the cause of death was natural but was difficult to diagnose due to severe decomposition.
After returning a verdict of death from natural causes Coroner O’Connor described the case as “very sad and difficult” from the point of view of relatives, neighbours and investigating gardai.
The coroner emphasised the importance of neighbours checking on those living alone in the community, particularly in wintertime and around Christmas.
Daily checks were not necessary, Mr. O’Connor suggested, every few days would suffice.