Published: April 27, 2012
Missing Highbridge pensioner 'died of hypothermia', inquest hears

A pensioner who was found dead by railway tracks near Highbridge is likely to have died from hypothermia, an inquest was told this week.

The body of Edith Joan Batten, 79, was found on October 25th last year at Dunball foot crossing, two days after leaving her home in Highbridge's Dunstan Road.

An inquest held in Bridgwater on Thursday heard that was found semi-naked, although there was no indication her clothing, which was recovered nearby, had been forcibly removed.

A post mortem revealed she had not been struck by a train and also detected Alzheimer's disease.

Edith had gone out for a walk on October 23rd after asking her husband when dinner would be ready. He reported her missing the next day after she failed to return.

A huge search operation was launched to find her, as pictured here, involving the police helicopter, dogs and crews from Burnham-On-Sea's Coastguards, BARB (Burnham Area Rescue Boat) and RNLI.

The inquest was told that Edith had a history of previous disappearances, but had always been found within a matter of hours.

On one occasion, she was found at London's Paddington Railway Station, having travelled with no clear reason.

West Somerset Coroner Michael Rose said at the hearing that the number of people who suffer with Alzheimer's disease increases every year.

He added that Edith and Derrick, her husband, had been married for 50 years and this year would have been their Golden Wedding anniversary.
He said she suffered with dementia.

The coroner recorded a verdict of the death being unascertained.

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