Death of elderly woman undiscovered for 12 years is 'not suspicious'

Death of elderly woman whose body lay dead for up to 12 years in her house while her husband still lived there is not being treated as suspicious, police say

  • Christina Malley is believed to have died in her Aberdeenshire home 12 years ago
  • Her husband allegedly claimed his wife was abroad when asked where she was
  • But police have not confirmed her death is not being treated as suspicious
  • The case has been described as ‘heartbreaking’ by local and national politicians 

The death of an elderly woman whose body lay undiscovered for up to 12 years in the home shoe shared with her husband is not being treated suspicious, police have said.

Christina Malley’s body was found at her home in Cove, near Aberdeen, in February by district nurses after she failed to show up for a Covid-19 vaccination.

It is understood that the pensioner’s husband named as Daniel, who lived at the property, would claim his wife was abroad when asked where she was.

But today Police Scotland said the death of the woman, who would have been in her 80s, is not being treated as suspicious.

Today a spokeswoman for Police Scotland said: ‘Inquiries have been concluded and the death is not being treated as suspicious. Inquiries into the circumstances of the incident are continuing.’

Police launched an investigation after she was discovered at a property on Allison Close in the coastal suburb of Cove.

Christina Malley’s body was found at her home in Cove, near Aberdeen, in February by district nurses after she failed to show up for a Covid-19 vaccination 

Forensics officers carried out a thorough examination of the property where Mrs Malley’s body was discovered and tests were being carried out to determine how she passed away. The house is now boarded up.

It is understood she may have been dead for up to 12 years, but those who live nearby have said they did not even know she lived there with her husband.

One neighbour told the Daily Record: ‘I’ve lived across from them for years and didn’t even know she lived there at all.’ 

Another, who has lived in the area for 22 years, said: ‘I’ve never known him to have a wife or partner. You only ever see him. It’s all very sad.’

According to records obtained by The Sun, Daniel and Christina married in 1976 and moved to the home where her body was discovered in 1995.

Residents of the close said that barely anyone visited them and they had no friends or family. 

The case was described as ‘heartbreaking’ by local and national politicians.

Police launched an investigation into an ‘unexplained’ death after a woman’s body was discovered in Cove, Aberdeen last Thursday. Pictured: Police at the scene on February 25

Scottish Conservative north-east MSP and shadow justice secretary, Liam Kerr, had called for a national loneliness awareness campaign and had raised the issue in the Scottish Parliament.

And First Minister Nicola Sturgeon backed calls for a nationwide loneliness campaign to help combat social isolation. She said the government needs to look at how it ‘supports people to reconnect’ as Scotland emerges from the pandemic.

She added: ‘Loneliness, which was already an issue before the pandemic, has undoubtedly been exacerbated.

‘And, as we do that, I think a loneliness or tackling loneliness awareness campaign will be part of what we do.

‘We’ve all got a part to play in that.’

The woman is believed to have died several years ago, and it is understood her body was found after she failed to show up for her coronavirus vaccination appointment

Age Scotland called on people to look out for elderly people in their communities, highlighting that isolation was a growing issue, with tens of thousands of people going days or even weeks without a friendly call or visit.

Brian Sloan, chief executive of charity, said: ‘Before the pandemic, we estimated there was one chronically lonely older person on every street in Scotland. 

‘We now believe this is much worse, with more older people feeling isolated and cut off than ever before. This is having a devastating impact on both mental and physical health.

‘It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the scale of the problem, especially with Covid-19 restrictions in place. But we can all help to look out for older people in our communities.

‘Simply taking the time to get to know your neighbours, or having a friendly call or blether on the doorstep, could make a huge difference to someone who is isolated.

‘If you’re concerned or haven’t seen someone for a while, then we would encourage you to check they are doing okay and ask if they need any help.’

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