An inquest has heard about how a former care worker and policewoman was trapped inside the airing cupboard of her holiday villa for days. It was revealed during the hearing that woman had died of hypothermia, quite possibly because she had become soaked by water after tearing off a copper pipe in order to use it to punch a hole through the plasterboard walls.
The 60-year-old woman had apparently stumbled into the cupboard while looking for the toilet, although this is not a confirmed fact but rather an educated guess given that she was found naked and that neighbours reported hearing loud thumps in the middle of the night. After she had entered the cupboard the handle seemingly broke, having “disintegrated” in her hands.
She was then stuck there and having travelled to the villa alone, so she could enjoy a solitary holiday it meant that no one was able to hear her scream or cry for help. She was found a week later by caretakers investigating a leak.
It was clear that she had snapped off a piece of piping to use as an implement for escape, but in the process created a water leak that experts believe accelerated her death by leading to hypothermia.
It was also revealed that she had managed to make a hole in one of the walls, but it was not noticed because it was covered by a picture hanging on the other side of the wall. She was described as “inches” from freedom. A coroner speaking to the inquest said,
“What I believe happened is some time during the night or during the morning she had got up and has gone to the bathroom.
Holidaymaker died in airing cupboard after being trapped for 'several days', inquest hearshttps://t.co/qWG83a8HGV— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) June 20, 2018
“From there she went to the airing cupboard. The door opened inwards and it closed behind her. The cupboard was a very confined space. Being unable to turn the lock and realising she was trapped and there was no light, she first of all pulled the shelves off.
“Whether she used them to try and get out, I can't say. What she did do was pull the copper piping and a piece was broken off. This was used to try to open the door because there were marks on the door but also used to try and break a hole through the wall of the airing cupboard.
“I believe she knocked some of the plaster off one wall to find blocks behind.
“Unfortunately on the other side of the wall was a picture. She had been able to break a hole completely through that wall. I think the presence of the picture meant she didn't realise. She probably thought she couldn't get out.”