An inquest has ruled the cause of death of a Preston woman found badly decomposed in an airing cupboard will never be known.
Bolton Coroner’s Court ruled the body of former Fulwood High School pupil Victoria Cherry, 44, was so decomposed that no definitive verdict could be reached.
Area coroner Alan Walsh, said there was evidence of health problems, drug use and neck fractures but the body’s decomposition left him with no choice but to record an open conclusion.
In June, her partner Andrew Reade was jailed for four years and four months for concealing the body in the cupboard at their flat in Toronto Street, Bolton.
Family had reported the mother-of-three missing to police in October 2015 but her body was not discovered until January this year – 15 months later.
Victoria’s mother Janet Hughes said: “Reade was very possessive.
“At one point she said she would be leaving him. The relationship was up and down.”
The couple were both patients at Maxwell’s Chemist which they attended daily for a methadone prescription — given by doctors as a substitute for heroin.
A post mortem found drugs inside her body including methadone, morphine, noscapine, benzodiazepine, and pain relief drugs.
It also found damage to Victoria’s neck and voice box, as well as fractures to her nose, left cheekbone and skull, which were said to be weeks to months old.
Coroner Walsh said: “I’m satisfied that exhaustive inquiries arising from very thorough examinations have been made, and that the cause of death is recorded as unascertained.“We know she used drugs and we know that those drugs were found in the liver tissue though levels could not be identified, although the combination of drugs found could have caused death.”