A British grandmother whose mummified body was found hidden under a mattress in the Costa del Sol home she shared with her daughter has been identified.
The 71-year-old was named locally today as Valerie Butroid. Her fully clothed body was found sandwiched between a mattress and cardboard.
Her daughter Louise told Spanish police she’d died on March 12 last year – 24 hours after Mother’s Day in the UK.
Neighbours living on the upmarket residential estate where police found her body in the early hours of yesterday morning said she lived there with her daughter Louise.
A teenage grand-daughter, believed to be aged around 15, lived elsewhere and only visited from time to time, neighbours said.
An expat living nearby said there had been a bad smell coming from Valerie’s house for a while.
Valerie’s daughter Louise (pictured) told police her mum died almost a year ago
- Mummified body of British woman discovered under mattress at Costa del Sol home
One neighbour said Louise had become very reclusive after the death of her husband several years ago in the same house, a £265,000 semi-detached whitewashed property overlooking Lake Istan, near Marbella.
Another, a Brit expat who has been living near to Valerie and her Lincolnshire-born daughter for several years, said: “There’s been a bad smell coming from the house for a while because it’s not looked after and their two dogs and a cat use the garden as a toilet.
“But it got really bad over the summer and the smell started coming through the air conditioning vents when I put the heating on for my baby daughter as it turned a bit colder.
“I had new ventilation put in because I thought that was the problem but it just masked the smell."
She said Valerie had dementia and claimed "the daughter told me in August that she’d died after breaking her hip in a fall a couple of weeks earlier".
The expat added: “I assumed she had died in hospital. It blows my mind to think that poor woman’s body could have been in that house for nearly a year and the smell was that.
“I woke up around 3am on Saturday and saw forensics in the house because one of my windows looks directly into their place."
They lived in a property overlooking Lake Istan, near Marbella (file photo)
The communal pool and gardens in the well-to-do Zahara de Istan community in the hills above Marbella
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Forensic investigators have ruled out any foul play and have told officers they believe she died of natural causes but a local judge will now conduct a probe into why the death was not reported.
One line of enquiry is the family failed to tell anyone for financial reasons, either so they could continue to claim the woman’s pension or because they could not afford a proper burial.
Another Brit living on the estate a short drive from the centre of Istan in the hills above Marbella, said: “I think Louise worked in digital recruitment but she started having financial problems and I heard the bank wanted to repossess the house because they’d stopped paying the mortgage but couldn’t because there was an elderly lady with health problems living there.
“You assume wrongly or rightly of course that the body was left there for economic reasons and maybe the daughter was still claiming a pension her mum might have had."
The area of Zahara de Istan, which overlooks the Lake of Istan, in the hills above Marbella
She said Louise had become reclusive "in recent years because of what had happened in her own life so I just don’t know really why this has happened.
“I heard Louise’s husband died a few days after she bought the place and moved into it.
“The house was in an awful state. The Labrador and another dog in the house were very rarely walked and they used to poop in the garden and it was left there.”
Valerie is thought to have lost her husband several years ago when he passed away in a Lincolnshire nursing home.
The Civil Guard could not be reached for comment and it was not clear if any arrests had been made.
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