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UK OCD woman Samantha Hancox dies, parents Ken & Marion arrested

Updated: 07 Feb 2011
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Samantha Hancox, 40, was found dead in an armchair by frail parents at their home in the Black Country. She died from dehydration and a skin infection

 

Ken and Marion Hancox have been arrested on suspicion of the manslaughter of their daughter - who had been left housebound by a crippling phobia of germs

 

The tragic woman's disabled mother said: 'How could they arrest us? We didn't kill her, it was the OCD. She was our daughter and we loved her'

 

Samantha studied law but left before finishing her course when her phobia worsened. In recent years, the troubled woman would shower for 20 hours a day and spent all her time cocooned in the front room watching TV

 

Police have arrested an elderly couple on suspicion of the manslaughter of their daughter – who had been left housebound by obsessive compulsive disorder.
 

Samantha Hancox, 40, was found dead in an armchair by frail parents Ken and Marion at their home in Tipton, in the Black Country.
 

A post-mortem revealed that the one-time law student – who had a crippling phobia of germs – died from dehydration and a skin infection.
 
Paramedics had been called to the house by her disabled mother Marion, 77, and father Ken, 76, who thought she was in a coma – but were told that she had died.

West Midlands officers later arrested the couple on suspicion of manslaughter. They are currently on bail while detectives continue an investigation into the death.

Former factory worker Marion said: 'How could they arrest us? We didn’t kill her, it was the OCD. She was our daughter and we loved her.

'She just gave up her fight against it, she was so terrified of germs.

'She would scrub her hands all the time and wouldn’t let anybody into the house except me and Ken.

'Ken would make all her food and drinks for her because I can hardly walk.

'It’s heartbreaking to lose a daughter like that, we loved her.'Mr Hancox, who has bone cancer, has told of the heartbreaking moment when he realised he had lost his daughter, who had been eating less before her death.

'The night before I had given her a drink of pop and thought she was fine,' he said.

'I went in the next morning and thought she was sleeping.

'Later Marion checked on her and said she thought she was in a coma.

'We called the ambulance who looked at her, then the police came and there were about 30 of them here.

'Later we were taken to the police station and kept for seven hours while they questioned us.'

Samantha suffered from acute obsessive compulsive disorder, which gave her a crippling phobia of germs. She constantly scrubbed her hands and needed around-the-clock care from her elderly parents because she was too scared to cook.

The troubled woman would also shower for 20 hours a day and spent all her time cocooned in the front room watching TV.

She was Mr and Mrs Hancox's only child and enjoyed a normal early childhood growing up in Tipton.

But at the age of 10 she was badly affected by the death of her grandmother, Molly.

Mrs Hancox said: 'That really shook Sam up. Molly went into hospital but she never came out, she would have died anyway but Sam thought the hospital killed her.

'We lost a lot of relatives in a very short time and that is when it began.'

By the age of 14 Samantha’s condition was so serious that she had to leave school and was cared for at home by her parents.

Three years later she took her O-levels before she started studying law at Dudley College – but left before finishing her course when her phobia worsened.

'From the age of about 25 she got really bad,' added Mrs Hancox.

'She just stayed here in the house because she was too scared to go out.

'There was a fog in the house from her showering, she would be in there 20 hours a day sometimes, trying to get herself clean.'

Samantha died in May last year. She began to go downhill fast when her father went into hospital for four days in April to have an operation on his prostate.

Mr Hancox said: 'That was what made her really struggle because she thought I would bring germs home with me.

'When I went into the hospital she told me not use the lift, as she said I would get germs on my hands from the buttons. It killed me going up the stairs but I did it for her.

When I came out she had gone off her food, she used to eat lots and lots but she hardly ate anything, just a bit of pizza or quiche.'

Mr Hancox says he should have been given more help to care for his daughter by Sandwell Social Services.

'When I came out of hospital I should have been resting, I had a disabled wife and a sick daughter and no-one gave us any help,' he added.

'We couldn’t cope but no-one came to help us.'

Sandwell Council was unavailable for comment last night.

A West Midlands Police spokesman said: 'We can confirm that a 76-year-old man and a 77-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and are currently on police bail, pending further inquiries.'
 
SOURCE: Daily Mail
 
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