A HAMPSHIRE coroner banned an “out of control” family from attending an inquest into their mother’s death.
Deborah Trim’s six daughters were barred from the hearing and forced to wait outside the coroner’s court as a detective gave evidence about her final hours.
Mrs Trim, a victim of domestic violence, was found dead at her Southampton flat last August after taking a drugs overdose.
Her daughters have accused police of failing to investigate her death properly and noisily demanded answers when the inquest began in Southampton yesterday.
But for the first time in 20 years, city coroner Keith Wiseman was forced to halt proceedings and then banned Mrs Trim’s relatives from attending when the hearing resumed a few hours later because they were disruptive.
However, as the inquest was set to resume the family ignored the order and turned up – demanding to be let in.
Confronted Detective Sergeant Gavin Jordan, who was giving evidence at the time, went outside to try to calm the situation.
Standing only a few feet from the locked entrance door, he was confronted by the women and subjected to a finger-jabbing display of anger.
Eyes blazing, they repeatedly accused police of failing to carry out a proper investigation into their mother’s death and bombarded him with questions.
Det Sgt Jordan eventually went back inside, shutting the door behind him and leaving them fuming on the pavement.
Resuming his evidence, Det Sgt Jordan said the last person known to have seen Mrs Trim alive was her boyfriend, Patrick Jarvis, who had been jailed in 2012 for assaulting her.
He added: “There were no obvious signs of any third party involvement in her death.”
Mr Jarvis told police he last saw Mrs Trim in Southampton city centre on August 17, three days before she was found dead in her first-floor flat.
Det Sgt Jordan, the only witness at the resumed inquest, said: “Nothing in my inquiries suggested he was being anything but truthful.”
Mr Wiseman added: “Basically the family have got it into their head that Patrick Jarvis was somehow connected with their mother’s death. They felt there might have been an assault or something like that.
“That was the position they managed to maintain, even when the cause of death became clear.”
Mr Wiseman recorded an open verdict, saying it was impossible to tell whether the overdose taken by Mrs Trim was accidental or deliberate.
What the coroner said about the family of Deborah Trim
“IT WAS clear to me long before this hearing that there was a serious likelihood that the inquest would be significantly disrupted.
“For that reason I ensured there were sufficient police officers present to deal with any difficulty.
“I hoped that it would have been possible to complete the inquest in a dignified fashion but I am afraid those hopes were entirely without foundation.”
He added: “Some members of the family spoke more than others. But they were clearly putting on a united position and no one suggested at any stage that they were prepared to listen appropriately to the evidence being given.
“I considered that they were entirely out of control.”
Explaining his decision to ban them from the hearing, Mr Wiseman added: “For the very first time in more than 20 years as a coroner in this city I formed the view that I would have to exclude the family from the inquest unless there was any indication that they were prepared to behave sensibly.
“They ignored what I was saying and continued to interrupt and tried, in effect, to take over the courtroom.”
Outside the inquest, Mrs Trim’s daughters said they were “heartbroken and disgusted”.
One of the women, Samantha Attrill, of Essex, said Mrs Trim had a black eye and a wound on her forehead when she was found dead.
She also referred to a dress that appeared to have been ripped off.
She added: “I know something happened to my mother before her death but the police messed up the investigation.
“They just assumed it was an overdose.”