Inquest heard into death of Bernie Gavan

An inquest into the death of a woman who went missing from a mental health facility in Dublin has heard the cause of death could not be determined, but she may have died of natural causes.

Bernie Gavan, 59, went missing from Daneswood House in Dublin in August 2007.

Her remains were discovered in a steep trench at Tolka Valley Park in Finglas in March 2011. Foul play was not suspected.

The inquest at Dublin City Coroner's Court heard details of Ms Gavan's disappearance and the discovery of her body.

Irish State Pathologist Marie Cassidy, who examined the remains, said the cause of death could not be determined as the remains were skeletonised and there was no soft tissue.

She said there was no evidence of trauma, but that Ms Gavan could have died of natural causes as she had heart and breathing problems.

Staff at Daneswood House said Ms Gavan went for a walk into Phibsboro on the day she went missing.

They became alarmed when she did not return.

Staff nurse Ray Kavanagh said he telephoned the family and Irish police that night.

However, Ms Gavan's family disputed this and said they were not told until the following morning.

Forensic Anthropologist Dr Elaine Buckley said she also examined the remains at the scene.

She said they were "completely skeletonised".

Dr Buckley said there was no evidence of injury and it was likely Ms Gavan had slid down into the trench where she was found.

As no jury appeared on Tuesday, coroner Dr Brian Farrell adjourned the inquest until 15 June.