Children spent the night with their mother’s body after they died in homeless housing

Two children who spent the night in an apartment with the body of their deceased mother in homeless housing initially refused to open the door, an investigation found.

The younger child told support staff who knocked on the door that his mother was “busy sleeping.”

Ann Marie (Annie) Connors (30) was pronounced dead at 7 p.m. on April 18, 2018, after a drug overdose in her apartment at Camberley House, Churchtown, Dublin 14, run by Sophia Housing.

“I heard her son (11) tell his sister to shut up. Then the girl, who is five, said her mother was busy sleeping, that she was lying on the bathroom floor. bath and that they could not wake her “, Mary, collaborator of the project. Coleman told the Dublin coroner’s court.

Ms. Coleman and a co-worker knocked on the apartment door at around 4 p.m.

After initially refusing and then hesitating, the children finally opened the door and stepped back.

“I saw Ann Marie slumped in a doorway. She was freezing cold,” Coleman said in her statement.

Team worker Gerard Morgan brought the children to the office.

“Both children told me they were hungry so I ordered food for them. They asked if their mother was okay,” he said.

The court heard that Annie Connors had been on the housing list since 2007.

Speaking after the investigation, the woman’s mother Carol Connors said the children were now living with her.

“The little girl recently asked to go back to see the bereavement counselor but [the son] doesn’t talk a lot, he just puts his hands over his ears, ”she said.

Her daughter has spent over a year at Camberley House, where the goal is to move to permanent accommodation within six months.

“She was left in Sophia’s place more than anyone. Who was responsible for the decision that she did not have a home?” Carol Connors said.

Her daughter “came down quickly” after changing doctors and starting new medications in January 2018, Ms Connors told the inquest.

“I think the drugs she was taking prescribed by this doctor did not agree with her,” she said.

In the weeks leading up to her death, Ms Connors worried that her daughter was suicidal.

This follows a spell of more than 10 years moving between homeless settlements in Blackrock, Clontarf and Churchtown while commuting daily to Sandyford where her son – who has additional needs – attended school.

“You could see things were weighing on him,” Ms. Connors said.

Ann Marie Connors had completed a nine month rehabilitation period in 2014. She moved to Camberley House in the summer of 2017, where visitors are not permitted.

Two days before her body was found, her mother said “she was overwhelmed by everything”.

“Annie said to my other daughter, ‘I can’t do this anymore,’ the week before she died,” Ms. Connors said.

An autopsy indicated that the cause of death was opioid toxicity and a toxicology report revealed evidence of several prescribed drugs, including codeine, diazepam, zopiclone and pregabalin, present at therapeutic levels.

Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane has delivered an open verdict.

Sophia Housing chief executive Tony O’Riordan said the reason people stay longer than six months in supported housing is the lack of housing.

Regarding the rule prohibiting visitors to accommodation, Mr O’Riordan said the organization is aware of the risk to children posed by visitors.

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