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Inquest hears of Cambridgeshire woman's decade-long battle with anorexia

Emma Brown was diagnosed with anorexia aged 13 Credit: Family photo

A young woman who once aspired to be an Olympic runner died after battling anorexia since her early teens, an inquest heard.

Emma Brown, 27, was found dead in her flat in Cambourne near Cambridge by her mother on August 22 2018.

WATCH: ITV Anglia's Matthew Hudson reports from the inquest.

Her father Simon Brown told a hearing in Huntingdon that she was diagnosed with the eating disorder aged 13 after she was bullied at school and he described her "descent into hell" afterwards.

A post-mortem examination recorded her medical cause of death as lung and heart disease, with anorexia and bulimia nervosa as contributory factors.

Emma's death was one of five fatalities of patients with anorexia being treated by various NHS services in the East of England region between 2012 and 2018.

Sean Horstead, assistant coroner for Cambridgeshire who is overseeing each of the five separate inquests, said he had "made no findings or determinations about any definitive link".

Emma's mother Jay Edmunds-Grezio said that in her teens her daughter would run 15 miles per day to maintain her low weight of around five stone 4lbs (34 kilos).

She said efforts were made to turn this into a positive and boost Emma'sself-esteem.

Emma trained with Bedford Harriers running club under the guidance of Paula Radcliffe's former coach Alex Stanton and won an under-18 British cross-country championships title, her mother said.

"In her mind she was heading for the Olympics but she couldn't control the amount she was running," she said.

"She got a stress fracture in her hip and that resulted in another relapse."

Her father described multiple hospital admissions.

He said that Emma would take money from the family to spend at restaurants in Cambridge and then make herself sick, and that he reported her to the police after the amount stolen reached tens of thousands of pounds.

She spent a period of time homeless, he said.

"This is an illness where the patient feared weight gain, she feared recovery, so fought against the help that was being offered," said Mr Brown.

"Her intellect meant any form of capacity test put her way she passed with flying colours. She was able to voluntarily discharge."

He described her as a "force of nature" who had all the indications of becoming an A* student before her anorexia diagnosis.

Mr Brown said Emma turned her "tenacity and ferocity" against those trying to treat her.

"It was almost a masterpiece in manipulating the system to avoid doing the thing it was trying to get her to do," he said.

Her mother said: "She really didn't want to die. She became accepting that that was what was going to happen."

Police who attended Emma's flat found her cupboards were full of confectionery, sugary and processed foods and tomato ketchup.

Coroner Mr Horstead expressed his concern at the "paucity of the investigation" that Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group had conducted instead of a serious incident report.

He noted that there were no interviews with Ms Brown's parents or "key clinical figures". The inquest heard this had been due to time constraints in compiling the report.

The hearing is listed for eight days.

A separate inquest into the death of 24-year-old Maria Jakes, who died of multiple organ failure in September 2018, concluded last month that insufficient monitoring of her condition may have played a part in her death.

Separate inquests are due to be held for Amanda Bowles, 45, who died in September 2017, 18-year-old Madeline Wallace, who died in March 2018 and Averil Hart, 19, who died in December 2012.