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Bodies of mum and baby daughter lay undiscovered in bed for three weeks


An inquest has been told of the tragic deaths of a mum and her baby daughter whose bodies lay undiscovered in bed for three weeks.

Joanne Thomas was alongside four-month-old Harper at home in Troedyrhiw, south Wales, last July.

The 27-year-old had not been seen for a number of weeks and concerned neighbours eventually called police.

The inquest heard that social worker Jamie Robins had called round three times to try and contact Joanne but had got no answer.

Astonishingly, detectives found the front door to the house had been unlocked the whole time.

Mystery surrounds what caused their deaths, with the police ruling out foul play and the coroner discounting carbon monoxide poisoning.

A post-mortem examination failed to find an exact cause.

Joanne’s mother Idris said: “We came to the inquest looking for answers and we still don’t know exactly what happened. We haven’t got the closure we were looking for.”

Her inquest at Aberdare Coroner’s Court today heard that after ending an abusive relationship, she and Harper had been removed from social services’ ‘at risk register’ and placed on the lesser and voluntary ‘children in need’ scheme.

Idris said she last saw her daughter on June 10, after she came around to look after Harper when her daughter was unwell.

She said despite, being under the weather, her daughter was still in good spirits.

That day, Joanne sent a text message to her health visitor saying she would be unable to attend a meeting.

The inquest heard it was the last text message she had sent from the phone. Social services later became concerned when Joanne failed to take Harper for her injections.

Social worker Jamie Robins told the inquest he had made attempts to contact her – by post and by telephone.

However, he said he may not have been able to make contact via phone because ‘she was required to change her mobile on a regular basis’ because of her domestic problems.

He added that by June 28, three attempted home visits had been made with no answer.

Mr Robins said he had also tried to contact ‘members of her family’ – something her relatives disputed. But he insisted social services did all that was expected of the organisation for a ‘child in need’.

Neighbours said they began to worry after seeing that Joanne’s washing had been on the line for weeks.

And on July 3, the alarm was raised when a fellow resident looked into the window and saw the bodies in the front bedroom.

After an open verdict was recorded, Joanne’s sister Rachel Lewis said her family had not gained any closure from the hearing.

She said: “We are still devastated at the death of Joanne and Harper. Joanne was a good mum who was starting to turn her life around. Things were going in the right direction and then she died in such a tragic way.

“We thought we would come here to her inquest and get answers which have plagued us for so long – but all we have been left with is more questions. There’s no closure for us.”

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