A 79-year-old woman was found dead inside her council-run sheltered home days after she died, an inquest heard.

Police were called to Margaret Rose Dean's home in Reindorp Lodge, Bishopdown, on January 10, following a call from a neighbour saying they had not seen or heard her recently.

Entry was gained to the flat and the mother-of-two was found wrapped in a blanket on the floor of her living room with the thermostat set to 30 degrees Celsius.

She went away one week before Christmas and the last time neighbours saw her was when she arrived home again.

Ms Dean's body had decomposed so significantly that identification was not taken but she had distinctive pink-dyed hair.

Brioche buns dated December 28 were found in the flat but Ms Dean's date of death is unknown.

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A post-mortem examination from Dr Matthew Flynn could not ascertain her cause of death.

An inquest, heard at Salisbury and Wiltshire Coroners Court on July 4, heard that Mrs Dean was schizophrenic but did not take her medication. 

James Hooper, her son, told the inquest that Ms Dean became "reclusive" when she stopped taking her medication.

This led to her leading a "very solitary life".

Reindorp Lodge is an independent living facility with 32 bedrooms and a communal residents' lounge run by Wiltshire Council.

Councillor Jane Davies, cabinet member for adult social care, said: “This is a very sad case and our thoughts are with the family and friends of Margaret Dean as they come to terms with their loss.

“While we cannot comment on the specifics of this case, Reindorp Lodge provides homes for people to live independently in individual flats. There are communal areas and an emergency alarm system in each flat.

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"They have access to external agencies for support and they can choose how much they wish to engage with any support. All residents who have specific needs can also receive care and support through council-funded care and they can choose to accept or decline this support.”

The inquest heard that Ms Dean declined any support offered by carers.

Paperwork requesting Ms Dean engaged with her general practitioner was found inside her flat by police.

Area coroner Ian Singleton recorded a narrative conclusion and Margaret Dean's cause of death as 'unascertainable'.