Inquest hears about final days of elderly married couple found dead at their Rutland home
An elderly married couple found dead at their home could have died days apart, an inquest heard.
The bodies of Maurice and Jane Rippon were found by police at their bungalow in Main Street, Little Casterton, Rutland, in January.
Mr Rippon, 72, was found in a chair in the lounge and his 83-year-old wife was found in the bedroom.
Pathology and toxicology reports showed it was most likely Mr Rippon died on January 13, although he could have died at any time between then and January 24, when the couple's bodies were discovered.
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The most likely date of Mrs Rippon's death was January 19, although she also could have died at any time bet-ween then and January 24.
The last newspaper in the house which had been read was from January 12. Subsequent deliveries were piled up behind the front door.
Police were alerted by a social worker who had gone to visit the couple as part of a care assessment report she was preparing, the inquest in Loughborough was told.
Post-mortem examinations revealed Mr Rippon died from pneumonia and Mrs Rippon from deyhdration.
Mrs Rippon suffered with Alzheimer's and it is believed she was unable to care for herself after her husband died.
The inquest heard Mr Rippon, who suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and Crohn's disease, was reluctant to accept help looking after his wife, even from her daughters from two previous marriages.
The coroner was told Mr Rippon had been advised by a doctor in 2009 that he could not go on looking after his wife.
Dr Tessa Jenkins, of Emp-ingham Medical Centre, told the inquest she made an unannounced visit to the couple's home in December, 2011, but saw nothing to suggest Mr Rippon was having any problems looking after his wife, known as Jean.
The inquest heard an arrangement was made through Rutland County Council's social services department for Mrs Rippon to spend time as a day visitor at residential and day-care centre Chater Lodge, Ketton.
But she failed to attend her second day, two weeks before the couple were found dead.
The inquest heard the council did not follow this up.
Anna Miners, of the council's social services department, said that, after an internal inquiry, more safeguards had been put in place for vulnerable carers and a system set up with private day-care providers to alert next of kin and social services if people referred to them did not show up.
Coroner Robert Chapman recorded verdicts of natural causes.
Speaking after the hearing, Mrs Rippon's daughter, Jennifer Bentley, said: "It is some consolation to us that social services took action."