Shopaholic pensioner dies in her home after being buried under mountain of unopened items
By James Tozer
Last updated at 6:52 PM on 08th January 2009
An elderly spinster who obsessively hoarded clothes and accessories died in her own house when a mountain of suitcases fell on top of her, burying her alive.
Joan Cunnane, 77, a shopaholic who spent hours at branches of John Lewis and Marks & Spencer, claimed to own 300 scarves as well as thousands of trinkets and valuables. The neatly-organised goods took up so much space in her bungalow that she only had a 2ft wide path to get around it, and both her car and garage were packed with other purchases.
She was reported missing earlier this week when she failed to attend a hospital appointment but while police searched her home it took two days to sift through her possessions and find her body. It was eventually found buried under a pile of cases in a back bedroom where she had apparently gone in search of a favourite item on Boxing Day.
The eccentric pensioner, who had no known family, is thought to have died of dehydration several days earlier.
Yesterday neighbours spoke of their shock at the macabre death of Miss Cunnane, a retired BT operator and devout Catholic who attended church services every weekend.
Her closest friend, Roy Moran, also 77, said: 'I think it just gave her pleasure to buy things - none of it was really essential.
'I once asked her how many scarves she had. She said she thought about 300.
'I asked her why she needed that many. She said they were all different colours.