A WOMAN died as a result of unlawful killing, a coroner concluded.

Yvonne Robinson, 60, died at her Beck Green home in Egremont on September 11, 2018.

She was an alcoholic living in a state of 'neglect 'with her partner, Colin Sharples, a Cockermouth inquest heard.

A post mortem by Dr Alison Armour revealed the medical cause of her death was “blunt chest trauma”. She had 15 rib fractures and was clearly neglected, the inquest heard.

He was arrested following her death but died days before the post mortem report was produced.

Assistant coroner Dr Nicholas Shaw said: “Yvonne has suffered a violent assault, she had great difficulty in breathing due to a multiplicity of fractures.”

Mr Sharples had called for an ambulance. He told police and paramedics that he had returned from a trip to Whitehaven to find Miss Robinson on the floor of the living room.

“He was arrested and questioned and released pending the final report,” said Dr Shaw.

“When it arrived in January Mr Sharples had been in hospital and died from complications with liver disease.

“Had he not been deceased I have no doubt he would have been arrested and prosecuted in relation to Yvonne’s death and he might well have been charged with her murder.

“You could almost say this was divine retribution.”

There were no further investigations following Mr Sharples' death. “He remains the most likely suspect for the assault described by Dr Armour,” said Dr Shaw.

Dr Armour said: “The amount of force to cause those rib fractures would be considerable. In my opinion there were many blows."

The injuries were too severe and widespread to be caused by a fall, she said.

Miss Robinson’s older sister, Susan Sisson, was at the inquest and gave evidence. She spoke of how she and Miss Robinson had been close and she always used to be immaculately dressed and house proud. Miss Robinson had previously worked as a hairdresser and model painter.

Things changed when she met Mr Sharples, said Mrs Sisson.

“He was controlling from the start. He was violent to Yvonne all the time. I tried many times to encourage her to leave him,” she said.

Miss Robinson became an alcoholic and Miss Sisson took her to the doctors and also AA meetings. She also took her to other appointments.

On many occasions she had been told to withdraw large amounts of money from Miss Robinson’s building society account and deliver it to the house, where she was met by Mr Sharples.

She did not go into the “unclean and unkempt” flat and was very worried about her sister.

“We have heard in detail about Yvonne’s private life,” said Dr Shaw. “From the age of 40 onwards she has drifted into alcohol dependency and her life has taken a very steady downward trajectory from the time she left work and her mum died.

“Throughout her long relationship with Mr Sharples her health has deteriorated. She didn’t go to the doctors but the post mortem revealed she had suffered a heart attack at some stage.

“She had become weak, reclusive and severely neglected. She was living in a state of severe neglect - both physical and emotional.”

He told Mrs Sisson: “I’m very sorry.”