Page last updated at 14:44 GMT, Tuesday, 22 April 2008 15:44 UK

Professor, 49, died from anorexia

Rosemary Pope
Professor Pope was also a trustee of the General Nursing Council Trust

A senior university lecturer weighed less than five stone when she died from an eating disorder, an inquest heard.

Prof Rosemary Pope, pro-vice chancellor at Bournemouth University with a background in health and psychology, died as a result of anorexia nervosa.

Her weight had dropped to 4st 10lb (30kg) when she was found dead at home in Sandy Mead Road on 21 March.

East Dorset coroner Sheriff Payne recorded a verdict of death by natural causes contributed to by self neglect.

He said he was sure Prof Pope must have been aware of the consequences of failing to provide herself with adequate nutrition.

She was unable to hear what we had to say and we find this distressing
Michael Pope

Her brother Christopher and his son found her body.

Speaking after the inquest in Bournemouth, another brother, Michael, said the pair had tried to raise the subject of her illness.

"Christopher and I are devastated by Rosemary's death," he said.

"Although she had suffered from an eating disorder intermittently for some years, she was an incredibly energetic, enthusiastic and capable person carrying on work at the highest level.

"We find it hard to understand how she was able to carry on at all times without any interference or disruption to her life and work despite her low levels of nutrition.

"She was one of the most irrepressible and determined people you could meet.

"We were very aware about her eating disorder and although we raised the subject with her from time to time, it was clear to us it could damage our relationship with her and could be detrimental to her if we pushed too hard.

'Tragic loss'

"She was unable to hear what we had to say and we find this distressing."

The hearing was told that Prof Pope, who had suffered from anorexia since her teens, would only eat fruit or sweets in public and had lost about 1.5st (10kg) between her death and when she last visited the doctor in July 2007.

The university's vice-chancellor, Professor Paul Curran, said her death was a "tragic loss".

He added: "Personally, I will miss her unqualified devotion to Bournemouth University and all of us will miss her boundless enthusiasm, her unwavering focus on our students."

Prof Pope, who was a professor of education with a professional background in health and a PhD in psychology, joined the university in June 2006.

She was also a trustee of the General Nursing Council Trust for England and Wales.

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