Siblings ’embalmed sister and were utterly convinced mummified woman was alive’

A pair of siblings who one shop worker described as smelling of "corpses" are said to have been "utterly convinced" their mummified sister was alive.

The "isolated" family of Rina Yasutake, 49, had refused to believe she was dead after she had stopped eating, instead embalming her corpse.

An inquest into the death has since revealed that a local chemist were suspicious of Takahiro, 51, and Yoshika, 56, after they had repeatedly bought surgical spirit.

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It was there that staff claimed that the pair smelled of "corpses", with a North Yorkshire Coroner's Court revealing the information of the September 2018 death today.

She shared a home with her siblings and mother in Helmsley, North Yorkshire.

Emergency services found the corpse of Yasutake on September 25, 2018, and an inquest heard how the 49-year-old's family believed she was still alive despite being dead for a few weeks.

She had been unresponsive since August 18, but the "isolated" family are said to have been "utterly convinced" that their loved one was still alive and well.

An advanced state of decomposition and a postmortem could not confirm a cause of death due to the mummification of Yasutake's body.

Detective Inspector Nichola Holden, when asked if the family were convinced Yasutake was still alive, replied: "They were at the time and for many months after."

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The siblings, alongside mum Michiko Yasutake, 80, were charged with preventing a lawful and decent burial but prosecution was halted when it was found that the family suffered a rare mental disorder.

The family are said to have been "very insular and isolated", with the family even speaking their own dialect and having no contact with the outside world.

Coroner Jon Heath said of the death: "I am unable from the evidence available to determine how she died."

The family, who were not present for the inquest, will listen to a recording of the inquest later, Heath added.

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