October 26th, 2016

Jury finishes hearing evidence concerning Luisa Mendes’ death

Jury finishes hearing evidence concerning Luisa Mendes’ death Jury finishes hearing evidence concerning Luisa Mendes’ death

THE JURY involved in the inquest of Luisa Mendes has heard all the evidence relating to the case.

The 44-year-old’s body was discovered at an address in Briar Close on October 25, 2012 with a post-mortem revealing she died from internal bleeding and a ruptured spleen.

The inquest into her death was re-opened on Monday (May 16) and over the past two weeks, the court has heard evidence from a number of people.

During the course of proceedings, the jury was told how Warwickshire Police received an emergency call around 8.15pm on the day before Ms Mendes’ death but it was cut off before any details were given.

An operator returned the call and spoke with two men who said a woman was at the house who would not leave, while the woman claimed she had been assaulted.

The call was marked as a priority – requiring police to attend within one hour – and was transferred to a controller whose role was to dispatch officers to the scene.

But no-one was sent until the following morning and when there was no answer, the officer left. The police were then called back shortly before 11am following the discovery of her body.

Three police call handlers were given written warnings after an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation concluded previous rowdy calls from the number had led police controllers to believe it was a nuisance call and prompted operators not to take it seriously.

Two men were arrested in connection with Ms Mendes’ death but were subsequently released without charge.

During the inquest, forensic pathologist Dr Nicholas Hunt told the jury Ms Mendes, who was registered homeless, died as the result of ‘catastrophic’ internal bleeding and a ruptured spleen.

Ms Mendes was found to have cirrhosis or scarring of the liver, which Dr Hunt said was likely due to her alcoholism.

She also suffered from the rare condition of splenic peliosis – a build up of blood filled cysts on the spleen – and this may have caused her spleen to rupture spontaneously or over a period of time.

One of the final people to give evidence was Detective Chief Inspector Long of Warwickshire Police.

He told the jury Ms Mendes had been identified as a victim of domestic abuse on two separate occasions – once in 2010 and again in 2011.

The first case related to a long-term relationship with an ex-partner while the second was connected to a family member, but neither the ex-partner nor the family member were concerned with her death in any way, he said.

Det Ch Ins Long also spoke in detail about the police system used when dealing with victims or survivors of domestic abuse.

Coroner Tom Leeper is expected to begin summing up the evidence next week before inviting the jury to retire for deliberations.

It is not yet known when the jury, which is made up of six women and four men, will return a verdict.