Reclusive woman "died of a broken heart", inquest hears

A reclusive woman who let nobody into her home died several weeks before she was found, an inquest heard.

Maureen Fallon (61) of The Laurels, Terenure, Dublin 6W was found dead in her home by neighbours on April 17 2015.

Vibrant and fun in her youth, a relative told Dublin Coroner's Court she believed the woman had died of a broken heart.

Originally from Co Mayo, Ms Fallon was described as outgoing and active in her youth. She was engaged to be married but the engagement broke off a few weeks before the wedding, the inquest heard.

“I would say she died of a broken heart, of the disappointments in her life. She never opened up or sought help. She had a broken engagement a few weeks before the wedding and that might have triggered something. She was bright, vibrant and outgoing in her youth,” a Co Mayo based relative told the court.

Ms Fallon’s brother Martin Fallon said she had been a recluse for years and never left the house.

She had to be ‘begged to attend’ their mother’s funeral five years before her death, he said. That was the last time he saw her. She refused neighbours, gardai and relations entry to her home.

“I felt she was badly depressed. I begged her to let someone help her but she refused all help,” the relative from Co Mayo said.

Neighbour Hazel Kilpatrick told the inquest she was gardening and went out over to cut Ms Fallon’s lawn as she normally did on April 27 2015. She noticed a kitten at the window, which she said was unusual.

“I went over to see how the kitten got in,” she said.

She and two other neighbours entered the house through the back door, which was open and found the deceased on the stairs. The body was in an advanced state of decomposition and cause of death could not be established, according to the post-mortem report. There were no signs of trauma.

The house was in a terrible state, Garda Niall Hogan told the court. “There were hundreds of unopened letters going back three years,” he said.

There was fallen plaster from the ceiling following a leak the previous year and mould growing on the carpets.

Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane returned an open verdict as the cause of death could not be ascertained and extended her sympathies to the family.

More on this topic

Third of over 50s living alone ‘socially isolated’Third of over 50s living alone ‘socially isolated’

'Wild fluctuations' in Fair Deal waiting list figures deeply concerning, says FF'Wild fluctuations' in Fair Deal waiting list figures deeply concerning, says FF

Man found six months after death: Let’s try to avert lonely deathsMan found six months after death: Let’s try to avert lonely deaths

Society must collectively tackle inequality facing older peopleSociety must collectively tackle inequality facing older people


Lifestyle

A scientific study has found that the teatime treat is just as effective as shop-bought energy gels.You might want to swap your energy gels for mashed potato on your next run

We catch up with Bushmills’ master distiller, who tells Sam Wylie-Harris more about this liquid gold.Irish whiskey masterclass: 11 things you need to know

Temples, beaches, and several nations with new names.From Bhutan to Costa Rica, Lonely Planet reveals its top countries to visit in 2020

Columnist and trained counsellor Fiona Caine offers guidance to a woman who’s unsure how to manage her mother’s dying wishes.Ask a counsellor: ‘Is it appropriate to notify my mother’s friends of her death by email?’

More From The Irish Examiner