A CORONER has returned an open verdict on a Newport woman whose death was the subject of a murder inquiry. The inquest into the death of Sandie Ann Hardman, aged 45, took place at Gwent Coroner's Court sitting in Newport yesterday.

The court heard that Ms Hardman was found at her flat on Sorrel Drive on October 17, 2013.

She was taken to the Royal Gwent Hospital by paramedics and CPR was performed but was later pronounced dead.

Ms Hardman who was born in Limerick, Ireland, had numerous bruising on her body which Dr Derek James, a registered Home Office pathologist, who works at the UHW in Cardiff, said were marks typical of an assault or warding off an assault.

He said she had 44 injuries in total almost all were bruises which were quite widely spread all over her body including her forearms, shoulder blades and face. He said there was also a ligature mark across her neck.

He said Ms Hardman likely sustained the bruising hours before her death.

He also said Ms Hardman had a history of alcohol dependency and a high level of alcohol was found in her system at the time of her death.

He also found bleeding in her stomach which he said was caused by a gastrointestinal haemorrhage. He said this was 'spontaneous bleeding' and he couldn't be sure of the source.

Detective sergeant Stuart Crocker confirmed that police had arrested two people on suspicion of murder in connection with Ms Hardman's death but no charges had been brought. He said the CPS had said there was no case to answer.

The matter was initially referred to the IPCC after police were called to a disturbance at Ms Hardman’s flat prior to her being admitted to Newport’s Royal Gwent Hospital.

But the case was then referred back to the force for local investigation.

Coroner David T. Bowen said: "A post mortem examination was performed by an experienced pathologist Dr James. He recorded numerous bruising on her body in particular marks on her neck where significant pressure had been applied which couldn't be accounted for by the emergency treatment. The post mortem didn't identify the cause of the mark on her neck but couldn't rule out the mark found on her neck didn't play a part in her death."

He said due to lack of an explanation only an open verdict could be returned.

Peter Hardman, Sandie's father, said after the hearing, that they were satisfied with the investigation and inquest.