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Police charge parents over death of OCD woman whose phobia of germs was so severe she showered for 20 hours a day.

Ken and Marion Hancox have been arrested on suspicion of the manslaughter of their daughter - who had been left housebound by a crippling phobia of germs


At 19: Samantha Hancox before the illness took over her life and ended it at the age of 40.

Welcome to the diabolical existence of the Hancox household.

Sounding eerily more like Tennessee William’s ‘Glass Menagerie’ a woman who lived a sequestrated and neurotic life has been found dead this weekend in the house of her parents Ken and Marion Hancox. At present, the woman, Samantha Hancox’s parents remain the chief suspects. What makes this death even more unbecoming is the way Samantha Hancox lived out her final years…

dailymail.co.ukSamantha Hancox, 40, was found dead in an armchair at the home she had hardly left in 18 years for fear of coming into contact with germs.

Her parents Ken and Marion Hancox dialled 999 but were later questioned for seven hours after being arrested and taken to a police station to be fingerprinted.

A post mortem examination revealed their daughter, their only child, died of dehydration and a skin infection.

Not exactly the signs of a family existence that squarely adds up…But the details only get more disturbing.

They told yesterday how their daughter, a former law student, suffered from acute obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) which left her a virtual recluse with a crippling phobia about germs.

As the condition took hold, Miss Hancox would wear socks on her hands which she scrubbed constantly. In her final years only her parents were allowed into the house to try to keep it germ-free.

Could one dare imagine the psychological devastation of just walking into that house? Could one wonder if even Samantha Hancox regarded her parents as carriers of germs. Or could one even argue, as the police are now wondering, if Samantha’s condition had warranted a type of extreme un ease that the parents were eventually loathe to deal with- perhaps at any means possible…

Samantha studied law but left before finishing her course when her phobia worsened. In recent years, the troubled woman would shower for 20 hours a day and spent all her time cocooned in the front room watching TV

The couple from Tipton, Sandwell, West Midlands, (UK) criticised the lack of help they were given from mental health and social services teams as they laid bare the severity of their daughter’s illness.

Mrs Hancox, who is disabled and cannot walk, said: ‘Everything had to be wrapped up. When Ken went out shopping he had to change his clothes before he could come back in or walk around in his underwear. Sometimes she would even want us to burn the clothes. There was a fog in the house from her showering.’

When was the last time you burned your clothes before re entering the house? And then again, when was the last time in your household someone took a 40 minute shower, let alone a 20 hour one?

‘We tried to get help. All these psychiatrists kept coming and all they did was assess her and went away. Occasionally she was admitted to hospital briefly, but nothing was ever done to really help her. We even wrote to Tony Blair when he was prime minister.’ She said her daughter wanted to see a psychotherapist but was told the local primary care trust did not offer that service to patients.

And why wasn’t Samantha Hancox offered the help she obviously needed? Were authorities waiting to see if she cut back her showering from 20 hours a day to 17 hours a day?

In her last five years Miss Hancox’s state of mind had deteriorated so much that she refused to let any medical professional visit her at home, and was too scared to leave the house herself.

Ken and Marion Hancox have been arrested on suspicion of the manslaughter of their daughter - who had been left housebound by a crippling phobia of germs

 In the end, Mr Hancox claims an impending operation brought great fears that he would return back to the house with germs from the hospital which led to Samantha resisting food or attention until her final demise.

Which begs the greater question- what was Samantha Hancox really trying to scrub away- a sense of dirt and infestation surrounding her or something deep within herself and could one wonder for a moment if that too was not what her parents were also trying to scrub away albeit unsuccessfully all these years too?




  1. OCD is a real illness. I got it when I was 19. The parents should not be charged with anything. It seems they did all they could. Look how miserable that women looked. Awful. OCD needs to be taken serious by the medical community. Not swept under the rug by litigious politicians.

  2. She was freaking crazWhat Are Germs?
    Germs are the microscopic bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa that can cause disease. With a little prevention, you can keep harmful germs out of your family’s way!

    kidshealth.org/parent/general/sick/germs.htmly…until I read this article…

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