AN inquest heard that a reclusive pensioner lay deceased in her Flimby home for months.

Margaret Jean Knell, known as Jean, 77, was found in her Station Road home on December 1, 2020.

Her brother, Brian Hayman, lived in Kent and contacted police after he had failed to make contact with her. He had last spoken to her in June.

An inquest in Cockermouth heard police forced their way into her home and discovered Mrs Knell on the landing. She had clearly been there for some time.

A post mortem was unable to ascertain the medical cause of death. Coroner Margaret Taylor returned an open conclusion.

Detective Inspector Duncan Brooker told the inquest Mrs Knell was found face down in the hallway in a 'badly decomposed state'.

There was blood in various places around her sparsely furnished locked house. There were no suspicious circumstances, he said.

The inquest heard Mrs Knell had never registered with a medical practice since moving to Flimby in 2017.

A pathologist was "regrettably not able to come to any conclusion as to what caused Margaret’s death,” said Ms Taylor.

“He notes there had been blood in the bathroom and on toilet tissue.

"This may suggest she had suffered a potentially serious medical condition prior to her death which might have caused or contributed to her death.”

It was noted she had coronary artery atherosclerosis – at its lowest severity. Tests also revealed the use of anti-depressants. But the medical cause of death was unclear and given as 'unascertained'.

The inquest heard Mrs Knell was born in Dumfries; she had a different father to her brother and they did not grow up together.

She lived down south and was married. Mrs Knell separated from her husband more than 20 years ago and moved to Aberdeen to work at the airport.

“She retired in March 2012 and seemed much happier," said Mr Hayman.

“In October 2017 she bought her Flimby house at auction. We were never invited to visit.

“She seemed in good health but had problems with her knees and weight."

He described her as 'a recluse'. They would speak on the phone every two months. He last spoke to her in June.

"Two years ago I could not get hold of her and had to get in touch with a solicitor to check she was okay," he said.

Her neighbours had last seen Mrs Knell in June. The inquest heard they had taken her round food during the pandemic but she had been offended by this and kept very much to herself.

Milk in her fridge was dated September 28. "It's clear she had been there for some time," said Ms Taylor, in her summing up.

"Regrettably I’m going to have to conclude the cause of death remains unascertained. I’m going to have to return an open conclusion."