South West Wales

Swansea widow, 90, died after burglary

A 90-year-old widow was found dead in her home following a break-in, an inquest has heard.

Avril Evans' body was discovered shortly before Christmas in 2006 in the Hafod area of Swansea. The police inquiry into the burglary remains open.

She died of ischemic heart disease but coroner Philip Rogers said it would be "inappropriate" to record a verdict of natural death.

He said it was a possible she had suffered "shock or fright".

After the hearing South Wales Police said the case remained open as despite several arrests no one was charged.

Image caption Mrs Evans had been followed home from a shopping trip, the inquest heard

Police had even offered a £10,000 reward for information about the break-in.

The inquest heard CCTV evidence showed Mrs Evans had been followed from the Quadrant shopping centre in Swansea to her street.

Police made several arrests but those held denied any involvement and there was no other evidence to link them to the break-in.

Mr Rogers recorded a short narrative verdict.

He said: "Mrs Evans died as a consequence of heart disease after her home had been subject to a burglary.

"I think it would be inappropriate to record a verdict of natural death," he said.

The body of Mrs Evans was discovered by her son, Alun Evans, when he called on a visit.


At the inquest, he insisted that whatever the medical evidence, he believed she had died of fright.

"I know what you are saying but I am looking at it from the point of view of seeing my mother lying there," he said.

"The way she was lying - she was frightened. "Whether or not there was somebody there, that is my opinion and that is what I believe."

Details of an exhaustive police investigation into the death were also revealed at the hearing.

Mike Forman, the former detective inspector who headed the investigation, said police arrested three suspects.

He said CCTV footage from the day Mrs Evans died showed "compelling evidence" she was followed home from Swansea bus station.

He said the suspects, two men and a woman, had later been released on bail and that bail had subsequently lapsed.

He said the intruders had entered the widow's home by breaking through the window of an upstairs bedroom used for storage.

Head injury

The Swansea coroner, Mr Rogers said: "I am satisfied that an intruder did enter her property and burgle her home.

"There was no evidence to that Mrs Evans had been the victim of any type of assault, there were no blows or anything else."

The only injury on Mrs Evans' body was on her head, which was consistent with a fall, the inquest was told be Dr Andrew Davidson, a forensic pathologist.

The coroner said: "It was also possible that she could have fallen or been pushed to the ground which, Dr Davidson said, would not normally leave any forensic evidence.

"Having fallen and hurt her head that could have caused the heart attack."

Recording his narrative verdict Mr Rogers added: "The evidence that you have heard from Dr Davidson was that, in his view, Mrs Evans had severe natural heart disease and, as a consequence, could have died either as a result of that heart disease or, possibly, the death could have been precipitated by a shock or fright of finding an intruder in her home."

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