Page last updated at 17:28 GMT, Wednesday, 6 May 2009 18:28 UK

Eating disorder killed woman, 57

A chronic anorexic died alone weighing just 3st 2lbs (20kg) after a 40-year battle with an eating disorder, an inquest has heard.

The hearing at Aberystwyth was told that Sally Reynolds, 57, had first been diagnosed with anorexia nervosa when she was a teenager.

Her body was discovered by her GP when he visited her flat at Heol y Felin, Ceredigion, in February.

Peter Brunton, coroner for Ceredigion, recorded a verdict of unnatural death.

"Her condition was brought about as a result of her failure to eat sufficient food," added the coroner.

"No friends or family could be found. It seems that Ms Reynolds was very much alone in the world."

The inquest heard that Ms Reynolds had a long history of chronic anorexia, but had always eventually spurned professional help.

Discussions of her case with psychiatrists and other experts in the past had all concluded that any effort to force her to eat would only make matters worse, the hearing was told.

'Body image'

Dr Simon Knight, the GP who discovered Ms Reynold's body, said: "I believe that she understood the nature of her illness and its perils.

"The anorexia was a long-term chronic condition which would not be significantly modified - she was set in her ways."

He also told the coroner's court that Ms Reynolds had increased her alcohol consumption in the months before her death, drinking a bottle of wine a day and a bottle of whiskey a week.

Pathologist Dr Christopher Simpson said that Ms Reynolds weighed 3st 2lbs (20kg) at her death.

"I am sure that the cause of death was the fact that her body weight was so low," he said.

"There was a history of anorexia going back 40 years. Death was caused by emaciation due to anorexia nervosa.

"Her body image was such that she thought that she looked the right way even though to everybody else she was very, very thin."

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