SHE battled in vain against anorexia nervosa for 30 years.

Eventually – weighing only five and a half stone – Carole Patrick died at York Hospital of chronic malnutrition caused by the eating disorder.

An inquest was told that complications set in after the 50-year-old broke her hip in a fall, and lack of nutrition meant she was unable to recover.

York Coroner Donald Coverdale, recording a verdict of death by misadventure, said her death was the “unfortunate and unintended consequence of a medical condition arguably under her control”.

He said Carole had suffered from anorexia for many years. “It has been a burden throughout her adult life.”

He said osteoporis caused by the condition had made her particularly vulnerable to fractures.

The inquest heard Carole, from Sherburn-in-Elmet, had developed anorexia in her early 20s.

Her sister, Christine, said in a statement: “It has dominated her life. She has never been above six to six and a half stone.”

Carole had fallen in her mother’s driveway earlier this year and broken her hip.

Pathologist Dr Alison Andrew said the cause of death was chronic malnutrition, due to anorexia nervosa.

She said the illness meant Ms Patrick’s body was unable to compensate when complications had developed following her fractured hip.

Dr R Parkin, a GP based in Sherburn-in-Elmet, said in a statement Carole had received care and treatment for her condition.

Beat, a leading UK charity for people with eating disorders and their families, said today it was not as unusual as people might think for sufferers to die, either from suicide or organ failure.

Famous people to have died following anorexia nervosa include singer and TV host Lena Zavaroni, who died in 1999, aged 36; and Karen Carpenter, of the Carpenters, who died in 1983, aged 32.

Beat spokeswoman Mary George said anorexia was just one of a number of such disorders which affected more than a million people in the UK.

She said disorders such as anorexia were not a “diet gone wrong” or a fad or a fashion. “They are a way of coping with difficult thoughts, emotions or experiences,” she said. “It is important that the sufferer recognises the signs and seeks early help in order to halt the progress of this sometimes deadly illness.

She stressed it was possible for sufferers to recover from the condition.

“Beat’s vision is simple: Eating Disorders will be Beaten,” she added.

• People suffering from anorexia and other eating disorders can contact a helpline run by Beat by phoning 0845 6341414.

‘My daughter’s desperate battle with food’

CAROLE PATRICK’S mother told today how her daughter had been fit and healthy – and a normal weight – until she entered her 20s.

“Gradually I noticed she was getting a bit thinner,” said Mary Patrick, 83, from Sherburn-in-Elmet.

“I just hoped she would get better. She tried to get better. She tried really hard, but she couldn’t overcome it.”

She said Carole had gone into hospital for treatment on several occasions but without long-term success.

She didn’t think doctors knew fully how to treat the condition, although some people did recover.

She said she believed more research was needed into anorexia and other eating disorders.

“She was frightened she would get fatter. All her thoughts were centred on food.

“She would weigh all the food she ate.

“I don’t think people understand the condition.

“I don’t think they realise what an awful thing it is. It’s an illness.”

Mrs Patrick said she believed her daughter’s weight had fallen below five and a half stone at times. “She looked like a skeleton.” Despite this, Carole had managed to carry on working at an estate agents in Leeds until her final illness.

She said she had been devastated by her daughter’s illness and death.

“She was a very good daughter. She used to visit me every day. At least she is at rest now.”