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Woman eaten alive by maggots in house full of rotting faeces

A woman who was found dead in a house piled up with rubbish and in a bed covered in mould and rotting faeces asked her relatives not to clean the house because she wanted to do it.

Hull Coroner’s Court heard that Donna Bettley, 42, lived in a house which was described as a ‘grim and distressing sight’ in some of the worst conditions ever seen by authorities.

Police attended Miss Bettley’s home on March 19, 2016 after paramedics discovered her body covered in flies and maggots.

The hearing was told her bed was found slumped on the floor covered in more faeces with swarms of maggots and flies.

She had been dead for between five and eight days.

The inquest into Miss Bettley’s death heard her mother, who died in August 2014, had asked her relatives not to clean the house she shared with her sister and her father.

He was arrested on suspicion of neglect after his daughter was found dead inside the property in Bridlington, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, but the CPS found there was not enough evidence to prosecute him.

The hearing was told Miss Bettley died of sepsis after a maggot and larvae infestation in pressure sores on her legs and lower back.

She would not leave her bedroom and refused medical help, despite being urged by her father to get a doctor to change her dressings, the inquest was told.

Dr Kirsten Hope, Home Office forensic pathologist, told the hearing that Miss Bettley was alive when maggots had laid eggs in her skin which rooted into her flesh.

She explained: ‘I would say in my professional opinion that injuries like this would be consistent with neglect cases, but I have never seen anything like this in my entire career.’

Forensic officer Geoffrey Birkett, who has dealt with crime scenes for 25 years, told the inquest that the smell at the property was so horrendous he had to throw his clothes away.

He described the scene as ‘the largest amount of human faeces he had ever seen’.

Since her death, her father and sister have continued to live in the garage even though officers at East Riding District Council found three separate properties for them to live in.

Senior coroner for Hull and East Riding Professor Paul Marks said: ‘The conclusion of this court is that Donna died of natural causes to which neglect contributed.’

He added: ‘The evidence heard today has been harrowing, from the emergency services and professional medical bodies who have said it is the worst case they
have seen in many years and decades in their roles.

‘I hope the family has some closure in what has been a weak investigation into the answers of how Donna died.’

Her brother, the only family member to attend the hearing, said he was in shock and needed time to process what he was hearing

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