A Queensland woman who died with traumatic brain injuries and bruises across her body may have died after being strangled, a court has heard.

The mysterious death of Kirra-Lea McLoughlin, 27, is being examined at an inquest in the Brisbane Coroners Court.

Ms McLoughlin was rushed to hospital after she was found unconscious in her home in Wolvi, near Gympie, on July 17, 2014.

Kirra-Lea McLoughlin.
Kirra-Lea McLoughlin.

Ms McLoughlin died in hospital the following day and despite her extensive injuries, the cause of her death has not been determined and no one has ever been charged over her death.

The inquest heard Ms McLoughlin had a physical altercation with her former partner's sister on the night of the incident where she was struck several times, fell backwards and hit her head on a cupboard.

The inquest heard injuries sustained in the altercation with Ms McLoughlin's former partner's sister were likely not the cause of her death.

Forensic Medical Officer Dr Adam Griffin told the inquest some of her injuries led him to believe she could have been strangled.

He said she suffered haemorrhaging to the lower skin of her right eye as well as her eyelid.

"The most likely cause (of the haemorrhage) would be some sort of impairment in the blood flow returning from the neck, some sort of force high around the neck would be one I can't eliminate as causative," he said.

Alison Russel, the mother of Kirra-Lea McLoughlin, at the inquest into Ms Mcloughlin’s death in the Brisbane Magistrates Court. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Tertius Pickard
Alison Russel, the mother of Kirra-Lea McLoughlin, at the inquest into Ms Mcloughlin’s death in the Brisbane Magistrates Court. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Tertius Pickard

He said a mild to moderate amount of force likely caused superficial injuries and bruising on Ms McLoughlin's neck, as there was no muscle or soft tissue damage.

Referring to Ms McLoughlin's haemorrhage as well as her superficial injuries to the neck, Dr Griffin said the symptoms were compatible with strangulation.

"In a clinical setting if a person presents with these symptoms it would be my first clinical concern that they'd actually been strangled," Dr Griffin said.

Ms McLoughlin's mother Alison Russel was present at the inquest which is expected to run for two days.

Originally published as Strangulation could have caused mystery death of Kirra-Lea



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