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Body of missing Hurley woman was found by BCA students, inquest hears

The decomposed remains of a Hurley woman were discovered by two students in the grounds of the Berkshire College of Agriculture, an inquest has heard.

Teresia Heales, who was 52, of Mill Lane, was found on Friday, September 23 in a red and blue blanket covered in ‘dense overgrowth’.

She was holding a hot water bottle with her shoes nearby, in woodland on the Burchetts Green Road institution’s grounds.

A post-mortem examination found that ‘flesh was absent’ from the body.

Ms Heales, also known as Tess, had been missing since Tuesday, April 12.

An inquest into her death, held at Berkshire Coroner’s Court in Reading today, heard how animal management student Keanu Shaw reacted after seeing her body lying away from a footpath in the woods.

In his statement, he said a fellow pupil had seen the body while the two were looking for birds and other animals for class work, and initially thought the student was ‘messing about’ until he took a look.

He continued: “This made me feel sick and I immediately called over other students to make sure it was not my imagination.”

The inquest heard Ms Heales' son died in 1997 and she had suffered a breakdown in her marriage.

She had been due to start a new job in April.

Just over a week before she went missing, she had sent a message to close friend, Diane Brooks, which said: “There are times when I could just walk into the River Thames and never come back.”

Exchanging messages on Monday, April 4, Ms Heales had promised Diane not to ‘do anything silly’.

Her mother, Lynn Heales, who had flown from South Africa, said at the inquest: “She was really excited about this new job.

“It would have been right up her street.”

Shortly before she went missing, Ms Heales had messaged her mother to say it was a ‘beautiful day here’, commented on bluebells and daffodils, before signing off ‘love and hugs’ with kisses.

The inquest heard Ms Heales suffered from a condition that caused her to bleed heavily if she was cut, and had left her medical bracelet in her room, which was discovered on the day she went missing by her sister, Sandra Heales.

In evidence read out by assistant coroner Ravi Sidhu, Sandra called herself a spiritualist who did not ‘feel Tess’ presence anymore’ and had believed ‘my sister has killed herself’.

Ms Heales was identified as the body found at BCA on the balance of probabilities by Mr Sidhu, due to evidence presented and a dental examination, which identified the body as someone who matched her age.

Mr Sidhu recorded an open verdict, as there was not enough evidence to rule out different possibilities as to why she died. There was no suicide note.

Speaking after the inquest, Lynn Heales said: “It is still hard to believe.

“She was such a beautiful, beautiful girl – she was not a girl, but she was a girl to me.

“She always excelled in everything.”

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