Police were told about attack on woman in Lillington after she died

Luisa Mendes.
Luisa Mendes.

Luisa Mendes was attacked by a man she had been staying with in Lillington on the night before she was found dead, an inquest has heard.

But a forensic pathologist has said that due to her health problems related to alcoholism there was no way of proving beyond reasonable doubt that the injuries she sustained were the reason why she died.

The inquest, which is taking place at Warwickshire Jutsice Centre in Leamington, has heard how Miss Mendes, 44, and homeless, died of heavy internal bleeding as the result of a ruptured spleen at an address in Briar Close on the night of October 24 going in to October 25 2012.

In interviews with the police following Miss Mendes’ death, Christopher Taylor, with whom she had been staying, admitted to attacking her that night after he had accused her of ‘seeing someone else behind his back’.

Mr Taylor, an alcoholic himself, was deemed unfit to give evidence at the inquest.

Instead responses to questions he was asked by officers investigating the death were read out at the hearing last Friday morning.

Mr Taylor had admitted to the officers that he had hit Miss Mendes ‘four or five times’ in the stomach and a few times to the head and that during the attack she had fallen to the floor in the bathroom where she was later found dead.

He had told the police: “She was upset and she told me to stop.

“She asked me to stop and I stopped.

“I am sorry for what happened I honestly am but I can’t turn back the clock.”

When asked what happened after the attack Mr Taylor responded: “I saw her come out of the bathroom and she got into bed and I followed her.”

Mr Taylor also admitted that he did not hit Miss Mendes to defend himself.

Mr Taylor’s friend Nicholas White was at the address earlier in the evening and, like him, was arrested in connection with Miss Mendes’ death.

Mr Taylor said Mr White had threatened to ‘kick his head in’ if he did not admit to hitting Miss Mendes that night.

Officers asked Mr Taylor whether Mr White had made the threat because he was angry because he thought Mr Taylor had killed her or angry that he could be blamed too.

Mr Taylor said: “He threatened me because he thought I caused her death.”

Dr Nicholas Hunt, a forensic pathologist, examined Miss Mendes’ body both at the scene and later.

He said that Miss Mendes had various bruises on her body of varying ages and that they could have been caused by a number of things including stumbling and falling while drunk or having been assaulted - typical with someone who had a ‘chaotic lifestyle’.

Dr Hunt said Miss Mendes had cirrhosis of the liver which was connected to splenic peliosis - a build up of blood filled cysts on the spleen.

This meant she was more susceptible to have suffered from the rupture either spontaneously or over a period of time.

He said that while on the ‘balance of probability’ the trauma from the injuries Miss Mendes sustained from Mr Taylor’s attack could have caused the rupture it could not be proved beyond reasonable doubt in regard to any criminal proceedings.

The inquest is ongoing.