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Woman died after getting 'trapped' in airing cupboard

Credit: Athena Pictures

A 60-year-old retired policewoman died after being trapped naked in an airing cupboard at a holiday complex near Machynlleth.

At a hearing in Caernarfon, coroner Dewi Pritchard Jones said part-time care worker, Elizabeth Mary Isherwood, arrived at Plas Talgarth resort alone on September 23 for a week long stay.

It is believed she had gone to the bathroom during the night or morning, then to the airing cupboard - where the door closed behind her leaving her stuck inside a 'confined space'.

Mr Pritchard Jones said the round part of the door knob seemed to have come off the internal mechanism which was still attached to the door and she couldn’t turn the door spindle.

What she did do was she pulled the copper piping and a piece was broken off. This was used to try initially to open the door because there were marks on the door but also used to try and break a hole through the wall of the airing cupboard. I believe she knocked some of the plaster of one wall to find blocks behind.

Unfortunately on the other side of the wall was a picture. She had been able to break a hole completely through that wall. I think the presence of the picture meant she didn’t realise. She probably thought she couldn’t get out.

– Dewi Pritchard Jones, Coroner

It was unknown how long she had been in the cupboard.

Home Office pathologist Dr Brian Rodgers told the coroner she may have been in there for a 'number of days.'

Elizabeth Mary Isherwood, who was from Wolverhampton, died from hypothermia, accelerated by being naked, stuck in the cupboard and sprayed by water.

She was only discovered hen a shocked maintenance man found her body after water poured through a ceiling.