Inquest after South Yorkshire woman’s body is exhumed

Sharon Taylor, whose body was exhumed
Sharon Taylor, whose body was exhumed

Mystery still surrounds the death of a South Yorkshire woman whose body was exhumed from her grave.

Sharon Taylor, aged 34, died in November 2011 and she was buried after a hospital pathologist recorded the cause of death as ‘unascertained’.

Her body was exhumed after relatives contacted police with concerns.

Witnesses claimed that, four days before she died, Miss Taylor, from Dodworth, and her partner Alan Trewhella, 49, had a heated argument.

They said Miss Taylor slapped her boyfriend and he retaliated with a slap.

Their next-door neighbour also heard arguing and a woman shout from her house: “You hurt me, you are always hurting me”, and recognised Mr Trewhella’s voice.

At an inquest it emerged that when pathologists examined Miss Taylor’s body again, a cracked rib was found.

Mr Trewhella has been interviewed twice by police since the death but no charges have been brought.

Miss Taylor’s sister, Christine Crossley, told the inquest her sister accused Mr Trewhella of being violent ‘on more than one occasion’.

But Mr Trewhella insisted: “I can assure you not.”

Five pathologists examined Miss Taylor’s body but none were able to explain why she had died. Forensic pathologist Dr Charles Wilson said the post mortem examination at Barnsley Hospital was ‘very thorough’.

There were no drugs or alcohol in the body and no signs of strangulation or suffocation.

But he said he was ‘fairly surprised’ to find a previously undetected rib fracture.

Dr Wilson said the broken rib could have been caused by a blow to the chest.

He confirmed the cause of death was ‘unascertained’ and said it was possible to die from heart failure which left no signs.

Det Sgt Steven Trigg, who led the police probe, said Mr Trewhella told officers he found Miss Taylor collapsed in bed on the day and tried to revive her.

“There were no suspicious circumstances and no external signs of concern,” said Det Sgt Trigg.

Mr Trewhella said he could offer no explanation for the broken rib but denied assault and said he was ‘in no way to blame’.

Recording a narrative verdict, Assistant Deputy Coroner Donald Coutts-Wood said five pathologists had failed to find a cause of death.

“It remains clearly something of a mystery,” he said.