AN open verdict was recorded following an inquest into the death of a grandmother whose body was found at the rear of a house in County Limerick earlier this year.
A full-scale garda investigation was launched when the body of 65-year-old Teresa Nyst was found on the afternoon of January 17 last.
While it was initially feared the married mother of three grown-up children may have suffered a violent death, gardai later confirmed that foul play had been ruled out and that her death was being treated as a “tragic incident”.
During an inquest at Limerick Coroner’s Court, Garda Martin Clear of Bruff garda station said he was on mobile patrol at around 1.45pm when he was alerted to the grim discovery at the rear of unoccupied house between Kilmallock and Bruree.
He said when he arrived at the scene at Ballygibba, Kilmallock – around a mile from Ms Nyst’s home at Tankardstown – he saw her body on the ground and noted that there were “no signs of life”.
He told the inquest that Ms Nyst, who he knew, was not wearing any shoes or socks and that she was partially undressed.
The scene of the discovery was preserved and a full forensic examination was conducted by members of the garda technical bureau who were assisted by gardai from the city.
House to house enquiries were also carried out and State Pathologist, Prof Marie Cassidy, travelled to Limerick and conducted a post mortem examination on the body of Ms Nyst, who was well known in the locality.
Dr Timothy Casey was told that following the discovery of Ms Nyst’s body, a local fireman informed gardai that he had encountered her out walking in the locality the previous night.
While Prof Cassidy did not attend the inquest in person, her report and findings were read into the record by pathologist Dr Peter Faul.
The inquest heard that toxicology tests showed that while alcohol and prescription drugs were found in Ms Nyst’s system she had died as as a result of hypothermia.
There was an outpouring of grief and sadness in the local community in January following Ms Nyst’s death.
Speaking at the time, local councillor Mike Donegan said the local community was in a state of shock.
“It is a desperate shock for both communities in Bruree and Kilmallock and indeed for her neighbours who were very good to her,” he said,
“Teresa was well-known and well respected within the local community. It is a terrible tragedy and an unfortunate end to her life. I want to offer my condolences to the family,” he added.