Coroner’s court unable to find cause of death of 91-year-old woman

September 13, 2018

An inquest into the death of a 91-year-old woman Inishowen woman has not been able to find a cause of death.

Julia Barker was found at her home at The Cottages in Burt in February 2014.

She had not been seen for a number of days and relatives became concerned for her safety.

They alerted neighbour Maurice Bowe who was able to remove a pane of glass and gained entry to the house.

Mr Bowe told Buncrana Coroner’s Court that he would speak regularly with his elderly neighbour but he noticed she was cold on the last day he chatted to her.

He advised her to go back into her home and wrap up.

Ms Barker was found lying on her side and there was no sign of life and she was later pronounced dead at the scene by medics.

Pathologist Dr Katrina Dillon said she examined the remains of Ms Barker.

She found very little heart disease, there was no foul play and that there were no signs that the deceased woman had consumed drink or drugs.

He said that she could not find a definitive cause of death and as with around 5% of all cases, death could not be ascertained.

Coroner Dr Denis McCauley said this is the first time in his professional career that he had come across a death as being undetermined.

He declared Ms Barker had been as “healthy as a trout” and had died a natural death of an undetermined cause.