A MOTHER from Wheathampstead died in bed leaving her severely disabled daughter to starve to death, an inquest heard today.

The badly decomposed bodies of Stefania Wolf, 67, and her wheelchair-bound daughter Samantha Backler, 29, were discovered by a leaflet distributor at their Marford Road home on July 31 last year.

Assistant coroner for Hertfordshire Francis Cranfield said Polish-born Stefania died of natural causes after which Samantha, whose body was found slumped on the floor next to her wheelchair, also died, of either a seizure, lack of medication or dehydration, due to her inability to care for herself.

It is believed they died around three weeks before they were discovered, causing their bodies to decompose.

Due to the advanced decomposed state of the mother and daughter forensic pathologist Dr Nathanial Carey said he was unable to give an actual cause of death following the post mortem.

The inquest, held at Hatfield Coroners Court this morning, was told how Stefania provided round-the-clock care for Samantha who was starved of oxygen at birth, causing brain damage and epilepsy.

In 1998 Samantha was taken into care after her mother was sectioned when she suffered from depression and psychotic episodes. She was admitted into St Albans City Hospital. She was discharged after 19 days and Samantha was back in her care.

Despite repeated attempts by the adult care services department at Hertfordshire County Council to offer the dedicated mother support and respite care, the offer of help was shunned.

Although the responsible authority continued calling and sending letters Stefania and Samantha's GP Dr Deborah Gilham was then given the responsibility of regularly checking on the pair but she told the court how several appointments were ignored.

She said: “In January 2006 social services said they were concerned they were unable to get any answers from them and Stefania had declined any help and care.

“They became isolated. I offered to see them, to check on them and I wrote them a letter. They did not come to see me but on February 2 I called Mrs Wolf.

“She said that they were coping fine and she didn't want any help. She didn't take any help and didn't want social services visiting them.”

On various visits to see Dr Gilham following this she described Samantha as well looked after and despite Stefania's resistance to help, Dr Gilham said she would always offer the possibility of respite care or holidays.

The last time Dr Gilham saw the mother and daughter was on June 7, 2010 when she described them as being normal and when asked if they were coping Stefania said “everything was okay”.

On the day their bodies were discovered Mark Mazzareillo, who worked as a youth worker for Youth Connections, was delivering leaflets in Marford Road.

A statement written by Mr Mazzareillo which was read out in court said he at one point he was called by his colleague to “come and see what he thought” of something.

He described the house as well kept with a very clean garden. He added: “As I walked up to the front door I could see flies buzzing around behind the net curtain.

“I lifted the letter box and a strong smell came. It was not a smell I had smelt before but it was like meat.

“These things made me concerned that there might be somebody deceased at that address.”

Police investigations at the home led to the discovery of a notebook, believed to be a diary Stefania kept, detailing how she had been feeling on a day-to-day basis.

Detective Inspector Sharn Basra of the Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Major Crime Unit, a witness at the inquest, said it was partly written in Polish and partly English.

It was taken to a translator at Stevenage Police Station after which it appeared Stefania was in a lot of pain in the weeks leading to her death.

Stefania's daughter Karina Jones – step sister to Samantha - described her mother as proud following the inquest.

She also called for more to be done for the disabled, for people to be able to raise the alarm in such emergencies.

Although the home was adapted with hoists and other equipment to help Samantha, she was unable to call for help due to her inability to speak or wheel herself around.