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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 February, 2004, 15:00 GMT
Elderly woman suffered 'torture'
Elderly person's hand
Mrs Panting should have been cared for, but she suffered cruelty, said the report
A 78-year-old woman from Sheffield died after suffering "unbelievable cruelty" while living with relatives, an official report has concluded.

After her death in 2001, a post-mortem found 49 injuries on her body including cuts, probably made by a razor blade, and cigarette burns.

But as the cause of Margaret Panting's death could not be established, no one was ever charged.

She had moved from sheltered accommodation to her son-in-law's home.

Five weeks later she was dead.

An inquest in 2002 recorded an open verdict.

Worst case

The review of the case was carried out by Sheffield's adult protection committee with the co-operation of the charity Action on Elderly Abuse.

The charity's chief executive Gary Fitzgerald said Mrs Panting's case was the worst he had ever dealt with in a domestic situation.

The recommendations have been accepted and progress is being made on the all the recommendations
Sheffield Social Services

"It is quite apparent that this woman suffered the most unbelievable cruelty in a very short period of time," he said.

Mr Fitzgerald added: "She suffered cruelty - it would be very difficult not to describe it as torture.

"It is hard to imagine the pain and suffering that that woman must have gone through.

Penny Thompson, executive director of Sheffield's social services, said: "The recommendations have been accepted and progress is being made on the all the recommendations."

Superintendent John Parr of South Yorkshire Police said a file on Mrs Panting's death remained open.

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