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Hornchurch pensioner found dead on grass verge

PUBLISHED: 09:00 11 January 2011 | UPDATED: 14:25 11 January 2011

Walthamstow Coroner's Court

Walthamstow Coroner's Court

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THE FAMILY of a pensioner who was found dead on the road in her night clothes claim that there is still mystery surrounding her death.

An inquest into the death of Doreen Theobald from Elmhurst Drive, Hornchurch on Monday January 10, heard that the 79-year-old was found dead on a grass verge in Hornchurch on May 17 last year, but the family claim that they are still unsure about how she came to her death.

At the end of the inquest Doreen’s daughter, Linda Thompson said: “It is a mystery to us and it is one of those things that we will never know”

The pensioner was found by the police dead on a grass verge at around 4am after a woman living nearby alerted the police.

But the family only became aware that the body was Doreen after they discovered that she was not at home.

A police search of the house revealed that a bottle of Scotch that had belonged to Doreen’s husband and a kitchen knife were missing.

Linda told the court that after her mother’s death, she found her mum’s keys on the pavement not too far from her home and they also noticed that her jewellery box was missing, but the police had found no evidence of a break in or false entry.

Despite attempts by the police to find the jewellery box it has never been found.

Evidence from the pathologist heard that Doreen who would only drink on rare occasions, had consummed a large amount of alcohol and had cuts to her wrists.

Her cause of death was noted as hypobolemia (low blood volume) and acute alcohol consumption.

Doreen’s son told the court that he believed there was a conspiracy theory surrounding her death.

He said: “I find it hard that she would do something like this especially when I saw her recently and she wasn’t in a bad place.

“There is no evidence of false entry but I am just wondering whether someone pushed into the house demanding her jewellery and it was too overwhelming for her leading her to go off and do what she did.”

The Saturday before her death Doreen was in good spirits at a family wedding.

Evidence from her GP heard that despite problems with her deteriorating eye sight, Doreen was in good health and had no history of depression.

Coroner Russell Caller recorded a open verdict as he argued that he did not have enough evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Doreen had taken her own life.


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