Body of woman, 56, who collapsed and died in her home is gnawed and eaten by her own CATS on her kitchen floor
- Body of Janet Veal found at her isolated home in Ringwood, Hampshire
- Neighbours raised the alarm after she had not been seen for some time
- Home contained a number of dead animals but others had survived
- Parts of Mrs Veal's body had been eaten away by her own animals
By Steve Robson
PUBLISHED: 06:18 EST, 13 August 2013 | UPDATED: 09:33 EST, 13 August 2013
The body of an animal lover was gnawed and eaten by her own cats after she died at home alone, a court heard.
The decomposing corpse of Janet Veal, 56, was discovered on the kitchen floor of her isolated house in Ringwood, Hampshire, on April 4.
Neighbours had raised the alarm having not seen her for some time and noticing that her letterbox was overflowing, Southampton Coroner's Court was told.
Isolated: Mrs Veal's body was found at her home at the end of a farm track off Crow Arch Lane in Ringwood, Hampshire
Police were forced to use a ladder to enter the semi-detached property, which is at the end of a 100-yard farm track, through an unsecured upstairs window.
Inside they found 'a distressing scene'. There were a number of dead animals - including a cat and a dog - in the kitchen and living room, but others had survived.
It is believed the hungry animals had begun to eat their owner after being left without food for months.
PC Dave Ivey said the house had clearly not been aired for numerous weeks and he could not see the floor for all the rubbish.
The court heard that Mrs Veal was something of a recluse and had become estranged from her husband.
Recording a death from natural causes, coroner Keith Wiseman said: 'These animals had been, the officer thought, confined in these two rooms downstairs for what may well have been a period of many weeks, stretching quite possibly into several months.'
Evidence: Southampton Coroner's Court heard how police officers discovered the 'distressing scene' on April 4
He added: 'This too was a distressing experience because it was clear that certain parts of Mrs Veal’s body were missing and had, the officer formed the view, effectively been gnawed and eaten away by the animals.
'One can only imagine the difficulty with the scene the officer was having to deal with.'
Mr Wiseman concluded Mrs Veal had been eaten by her cats after she died as her body lay in the kitchen for weeks.
She had suffered from various chest conditions in the past, it was heard.
Mr Wiseman said: 'Exactly what happened to render Mrs Veal unable to assist herself or get any kind of help is unclear.
'Obviously one or other of the chest conditions might have disabled her but it is not at all clear.
'There is no indication otherwise and no suggestion that she had been in any way attacked by the animals while she was alive.
'This was sadly a natural death that led to really very untoward consequences for Mrs Veal. This was because of her inability to get any assistance for herself.
'She was confined in the way that she was in this property with a number of animals that had not been fed for quite a long period of time.'
In an 'extremely difficult' post-mortem, pathologist Doctor Vipul Foria concluded she ‘possibly’ died due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Read more: Janet Veal, 56, gnawed and eaten by her own CATS on her kitchen floor after she died | Mail Online