The body of a reclusive British woman went undiscovered in her home for weeks and was partially eaten by her pet cats when police found her, an inquest heard this week.
It's not clear when exactly Janet Veal, 56, died, but neighbors recently reported a buildup of mail outside her Ringwood home. When police went to investigate, they found her body in the kitchen, several dead animals, and some live ones, according to the Daily Echo.
"This too was a distressing experience because it was clear that certain parts of Mrs. Veal's body were missing and had, the officer formed the view, effectively been gnawed and eaten away by the animals," Southampton Coroner Keith Wiseman told the Echo. "One can only imagine the difficulty with the scene the officer was having to deal with."
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Officers said the animals had been confined within two rooms of the house for many weeks and possibly even months.
Veal died of natural causes, which were "possibly" exacerbated by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Wiseman ruled. There was no evidence that she was attacked by any of her pets while alive.
"There is no indication otherwise and no suggestion, if I can go to the complete extreme, any suggestion that she had been in any way attacked by the animals while she was alive," Wiseman said. "Given the background history and findings I am prepared to find on the balance of probabilities this was sadly a natural death that led to really very untoward consequences because of the inability of Mrs. Veal to get any assistance for herself and to be confined in the way that she was in this property with a number of animals that had not been fed for quite a long period of time."
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