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Grandmother’s death following poisoning claims remains mystery, inquest told

By Luke Bartlett | Walsall | News | Published:

The death of a committed Jehovah’s Witness and happy grandmother who claimed she had been poisoned by her husband remains unanswered.

The inquest was heard at Black Country Coroner's Court by Senior coroner Zafar Siddique

A coroner reached an ‘open conclusion’ into the death of Valerie McIntyre, who told family on her death bed: “That b****** has killed me.”

An inquest heard the retired typist, of Gurney Road, Walsall, was taken to Walsall Manor Hospital with breathing difficulties and confusion in September last year.

The 88-year-old went into a coma but later came around and made claims she had been poisoned with weed killer by her husband Robert McIntyre.

The 70-year-old was arrested on suspicion of murder but was released due to a lack of evidence.

Inspectors found an amount of weed killer at the home but when interviewed Mr McIntyre claimed this had been there for around three years.

The inquest also heard in the lead up to Mrs McIntyre’s death she had been hiding food down the side of her chair in the fear that her husband was poisoning her meals.

The Walsall pensioner was suffering from a range of health complications including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

A report given by a forensic pathologist, who carried out an autopsy and ordered a toxicology report, indicated a lack of sufficient evidence was present to judge she had died by way of poison.

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Dr S Kolar, presenting his report to the inquest at the Black Country Coroner’s Court in Oldbury via video link, said that 85 per cent of weed killer would vanish from the body within the first 48 hours, if it had been present.

Senior coroner Zafar Siddique said: “In terms of any meaningful analysis after several weeks when the blood samples were taken, it is unlikely, if at all, there would be any evidence of weed killer in the system.”

Family described Mrs McIntyre as a ‘happy little old lady’.

Eldest daughter Alexandra Harpin, 58, said: “She liked to talk to people, she was a very active Jehova’s Witness until the last five to six years prior to her death.

“She was just a normal mother, but at times she was a frightened person. She feared certain things but never disclosed what it was.

“There was nothing wrong with her mental state at all. Every time I saw her she was fine.”

Luke Bartlett

By Luke Bartlett
Trainee Reporter - @lbartlett_star

Trainee Express & Star reporter covering Dudley and Sandwell. Get in touch on 01902 319445 or via luke.bartlett@expressandstar.co.uk.

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