Daughter left mum's body in Sydney house

When a woman's elderly mother died in the Sydney home they shared, the daughter 'carried on' like she was still alive, an inquest has heard.

For years Melissa Peacock's life revolved around her work and living and caring for her elderly mother.

So when her mother died in their Sydney home, she says she shut the bedroom door and "carried on like her mother was still alive", an inquest has heard.

The "largely mummified" body of 83-year-old Noreen Peacock was discovered by real estate agents lying in her bed at Kellyville in Sydney's north-west on October 18, 2013.

At the opening day of an inquest into her death on Wednesday, Glebe Coroner's Court heard the date of her death is not known.

What is known, counsel assisting the coroner Ian Bourke SC said is that in on or around Mother's Day on May 2012 Noreen and her three daughters Melissa, Debra Crozier and Jaslyne Haywood gathered together.

"Both (Debra and Jaslyne) observed Noreen appeared to be well and Melissa as always appeared to be taking very good care of her," Mr Bourke said.

At this time, the inquest heard, their mother was suffering from dementia and the two eldest daughters floated the idea of putting her in a nursing home but Melissa refused.

Melissa, who worked as a receptionist at a Sydney hospital, had told colleagues she had a boyfriend but this was untrue, Mr Bourke said.

"Her life revolved around living and caring for her mother and working."

When in late 2012 her mother's condition significantly deteriorated, Mr Bourke said Melissa became depressed and "unable to cope", drinking substantial quantities of sparkling wine in order to "obliterate" what she had to think about.

"Unfortunately and despite the pressure ... Melissa was under she did not ask for help," he said.

In July 2013 Melissa became ill with shingles. It was around this time, Melissa later told police that she had gone up to her mother's bedroom before leaving for work one morning and found Noreen dead.

"She shut the door to the bedroom and told no one about the death and carried on like her mother was still alive," Mr Bourke said.

The inquest, which will investigate the manner and time of Noreen's death, heard that when her body was discovered in October it was "largely mummified".

It also heard Melissa was charged with one fraud offence of operating an account without authority, as well as failing to report her mother's death.

No conviction was recorded and she was dealt with under the Mental Health Act.

The inquest continues.

Source AAP

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