Death of “quite fit and well” Harpenden woman a mystery

07:00 11 June 2010

Coroners Court stock image

Coroners Court stock image


A WOMAN who mysteriously died at her Harpenden home was “quite fit and well” in the moments before her death, an inquest heard this week.

Vanessa Bellamy, 39, of Manland Avenue, retired to bed at around 9pm on April 7 complaining of fatigue. A couple of hours later, her husband Adam discovered her collapsed and unconscious on the bedroom floor.

Mrs Bellamy, who was cold to the touch, was transferred by ambulance to Queen Elizabeth II hospital in Welwyn Garden City, where she was pronounced dead shortly after midnight.

Mrs Bellamy had a history of blackouts and had previously been referred to a neurologist for her dizzy spells. But aside from a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome and a prescription for antidepressants, no doctor could find anything wrong with her.

Giving evidence at the inquest on Tuesday, consultant pathologist Dr Rajiv Swamy, who carried out Mrs Bellamy’s post mortem, said that he discovered nothing more than a small bruise to her left temple, some aspirated food in her lungs and some blood in the fatty tissue of her right lung.

But he said that none of his findings were significant enough to contribute towards a cause of death, and that he could find no correlation between the drugs Mrs Bellamy was taking and the state of her health: “I found no evidence of disease or trauma and so basically what we have is a natural cause of death and no known reason as to why. I know it’s not a robust enough answer for the family she left behind, but unfortunately in some cases we simply do not know what happens.”

Herts coroner Ed Thomas agreed with Dr Swamy and recorded a verdict of death by natural causes as a result of sudden adult death syndrome.


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