South West Wales

Screw found in Llanelli woman's cremated ashes

Carole Ann Denby and her husband Howard on their wedding day Image copyright Wales news service
Image caption Carole Ann Denby's left a note for her husband Howard before she died

A screw found in the cremated ashes of a woman was not one left in by doctors after surgery, an inquest has heard.

Carole Ann Denby, 63, claimed the screw was left in her ankle after surgery in 2006, causing lasting pain.

She died in March 2014 after taking an overdose and the screw was found after her cremation in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire.

Healthcare scientist Dr David Watson said the titanium screw was different to the ones used in surgery in 2006.

Dr Gareth Leopald, who conducted the post-mortem examination on Mrs Denby, said she died from acute respiratory failure, excessive use of the sleeping drug Zopiclone, as well as obesity and emphysema.

Image caption Mrs Denby's husband Howard requested the screw be examined after it was found

He concluded she was in "generally poor health".

Dr Watson told Llanelli Town Hall the dimensions of the blackened titanium screw were "markedly different" from ones used during surgical procedures, which were checked against medical records.

Coroner's officer Hayley Rogers said Mrs Denby had been generally well until she broke her ankle in a fall in woods in Carmarthenshire on 25 May 2006.

The inquest heard she subsequently suffered mental health problems caused by recurrent infections and was found dead on 21 March 2014.

She had left a note for her husband indicating she wanted to end her life.

Image copyright Wales news service

Mr Denby, who could not attend the inquest due to ill health, had his statement read by a coroner's officer.

He said his wife had repeatedly been detained under the Mental Health Act despite his insistence she had no mental illness and believed the screw "was a cause, or contributory factor, to the infections and the stroke she suffered in May 2010".

Mr Denby accused medical staff of drugging his wife to cover up for the health board's errors and said Mrs Denby "would not have taken the pills were it not for her poor treatment".

The inquest continues.

Image copyright Wales news service
Image caption The inquest heard Mrs Denby had persistent and painful recurring infections in her leg

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