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Australian woman dead for months as daughter splurges her cash

Press Trust of India  |  Melbourne 

A daughter allegedly left her 83-year-old mother lay dead in bed for six months in her Sydney home and used her money through fraudulently accessing her bank accounts, a local court in Sydney today heard.

The body of Noreen was found a week ago in the bedroom of her home by police, but according to a post-mortem report she had been dead for months, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Her daughter, 48-year-old Melissa Peacock was arrested from a luxury hotel yesterday and produced in Central Local Court today for failing to report the death of her mother and dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception.

She may also have the charges against her upgraded to manslaughter, the court was told.

Peacock, who was believed to be Noreen's primary carer, has told the police after her arrest that her mother died on July 28 and that when she discovered this she walked from the room, closed the door and did not enter the room again.

But the police has contradicted her claims in the court saying that according to forensic evidence, attempts were made to keep the room clean after Noreen's death, such as changing of the sheets and the use of air freshener to mask the smell, the local newspaper reported.

The cause of death is not yet known, but a preliminary autopsy suggested she may have died from hypothermia.

Peacock is also accused of using her mother's money to pay for her accommodation at top-end hotels in the city, including the Four Seasons, the Hilton, the Marriott and the Shangri-La.

Police said she quit her job in July and all her own bank accounts were overdrawn, the Herald added.

Peacock remains in custody while the hearing for her bail is pending for Monday.

However, police opposed a bail application saying they feared she would not turn up at future court dates as she had allegedly engaged in "deceptive conduct" and told numerous lies.

First Published: Fri, October 25 2013. 16:17 IST