London: Woman lay dead for week until neighbours reported ‘foul smell’

Rebecca Marles’ body was discovered at her home in Kingston Upon Thames (Picture: MyLondon/BPM)

A woman’s death went unnoticed for a week until her neighbours complained of a ‘foul smell’ from her South West London home.

The body of Rebecca Marles, 46, was discovered on King Henry’s Road in Kingston Upon Thames on January 6.

She’d last been seen by neighbours on New Year’s Eve.

A welfare check had been arranged after she didn’t attend a pharmacy appointment to get some routine medication.

Police broke down her door to gain entry and discovered her body in a ‘decomposed state’ on the kitchen floor.

A post-mortem report later revealed she had most likely been lying there for nearly a week.

Rebecca, originally from Oxfordshire, had lost her parents and brother when she was younger.

West London Coroner’s Court heard how the 46-year-old suffered from a range of mental health conditions such as paranoid schizophrenia.

She was also a regular methadone user.

SEI 117537961

Rebecca lay dead for a week before police forced entry into her home (Picture: MyLondon/BPM)

One of the police officers who attended Rebecca’s welfare check on January 6, PC Lee Deakin, had previously met the 46-year-old due to a burglary at her address.

He was therefore able to identify her body.

Rebecca’s GP, Dr Peter Finney, told the court that she was first diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2013, and has previously suffered multiple drug overdoses.

She was on a number of medications and had been under the care of community psychiatric teams at the time of her death.

Mental health nurse Lucia Kendall added that Rebecca regularly smoked crack cocaine, and often reported feeling ‘stressed’ and ‘agitated’.

More: London

The court heard how on December 31, she collected five days’ worth of methadone, and a post-mortem examination and toxicology report revealed that she is likely to have overdosed on this medication, in combination with other prescribed drugs.

The medical cause of death was given as ‘respiratory depression’, which is when carbon dioxide builds up inside the body.

Recording a conclusion of ‘drug-related death’, West London’s assistant coroner Ivor Collett told the court: ‘It is clear that Miss Marles found herself in such sad and stark circumstances.

‘She was a troubled person with a number of health problems, including drug dependency.

Support is out there for drug addiction or mental health issues

‘She lived alone and she received support from the medical services. It seems that on December 31, 2021, she collected five days’ worth of methadone.

‘It appears likely that she took a sufficient quantity of methadone with a combination of prescribed drugs, which brought about her death.

‘She probably took more than she should have in order to unsettle the effects that her medication would have on her normally.

‘She was found face down on the floor, with marks on her head -which I believe indicate that she fell. Sadly she lay on the floor for around a week before she was found.

‘Nothing suggests any intention, it appears to have been accidental.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

For more stories like this, check our news page.

Recommended For You