Mossend woman dies in Bulgaria

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A FORMER Mossend woman has died following a gas leak at her home in Bulgaria.

The body of Elaine Johnstone was found by her landlady who noticed there had been a small fire in the kitchen and a gas hotplate had been left on.

The owner of the property in the town of Polski Trambesh also observed a gas leak and a post-mortem revealed gas had killed the 65-year-old.

Elaine, who grew up in Adamson Street, was well known as a local beauty queen under her maiden name of Blue. She was selected as Mossend’s Coronation Queen in 1953.

The former Bellshill Academy pupil left the area in 1973. She lived in Edinburgh and Aberdeen before moving to Norwich where she was a lecturer within the prison service.

Eight years ago she emigrated to Spain, having been widowed, but when the economy crashed there she headed to Bulgaria just under two years ago and was in the process of redeveloping a couple of properties when she died last week.

Her daughter Dawn McCluskey, who lives in Motherwell, said: “Despite mum living abroad I was in daily contact with her through Skype and Facebook.

“It was only when she failed to respond to an e-mail on Saturday that I became suspicious as it was so unlike her. Then a family friend called to say what had happened.

“Mum had been here in October to see her great-grandchildren for the first time. During that visit I insisted she give my contact details to someone in Bulgaria in case something did happen.

“It was lucky I did as I would have had no idea what had happened. Despite my attempts I have received no information from the Briish Embassy.”

Dawn fears the family might never know what happened.

She said: “By no means was mum living in a holiday resort. Indeed, I never went to visit because it was a little too rough and ready for my liking.

“While I understand an investigation is going on, I think the processes are not quite up to what we would expect in this country so I don’t know what, if anything, it will uncover.”

Elaine’s body is likely to be cremated in Bulgaria next week.

Dawn said: “We are trying to give one of her friends power of attorney to deal with everything.

“We had initially been told we had to have her removed from the hospital by April 16, but the authorities have now agreed her body can stay there as long as we pay them, so that gives us more time to get things sorted out.”