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Retired banker "starved herself to death" rules inquest

By The Citizen  |  Posted: December 04, 2012


RETIRED banker Carol Bell turned down all offers of help and starved herself to death, an inquest heard.

The 62-year-old, who lived in sheltered accommodation, told neighbours and managers she had eaten and didn't need meals cooked for her.

But at the time of her death she weighed just over 4st and her major organs started shutting down.

Miss Bell, of Greystone Lodge, Sussex Gardens, Hucclecote died at home on February 14, Gloucestershire Deputy coroner David Dooley was told.

Her friend Sherry Turner told the inquest she was a clever person but never asked anyone for help.

"I used to take her a cake, but she would only eat a very small piece," she said. "I invited her to come to my house for Christmas but she told me she was going to other friends. I later found she had told them she was coming to me."

Miss Bell's GP had prescribed build-up foods but she did not eat properly and had not done so for years, said Mrs Turner.

Greystones secretary, Peggy Ryland, said she had become close friends with Miss Bell since she moved there in 2005.

"She was severely underweight and suffered from curvature of the spine," she said. "For the last six months she clearly did not eat enough. She phoned me the evening before her death wanting help to get into bed. When I got to her flat, she was able to walk to the bed and I gave her a hot water bottle and a hot drink."

Social worker Lucy Griffiths said Miss Bell had referred herself for a care assessment in June 2011 because she was struggling.

"She was severely underweight and not eating sufficiently," she said. "Her GP was monitoring her weight and a package of care was set up for her in the mornings. Cooked meals were offered to her but she declined them and said later that she was able to get her own food."

A post mortem found Miss Bell had died from malnutrition, which had caused her major organs to shut down. Summing up, Mr Dooley said Miss Bell had had a history of eating problems at least back as far as 2005 and said she died from natural causes with deliberate self-neglect a major contributory factor.

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