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Dinner lady's body found in school freezer

A school dinner lady has been found dead in a freezer at the primary school where she had worked for 20 years. Linda Gent's body was discovered, along with pills, in a large chest freezer, at South Benfleet Primary School, in Essex.

The 55-year-old had been reported missing 15 hours earlier. An inquest has been opened and adjourned, but the police said detectives were not treating the death as suspicious, and said a report was being prepared for the coroner. Mrs Gent's body was found on Saturday, after a member of the public contacted the police.

A spokeswoman for Essex Police said: "We were contacted at 2.30am on Saturday by a member of the public who was concerned for the welfare of Linda Gent. A search of the school was carried out and shortly after 6pm a woman's body was found on the premises. A post-mortem examination has been conducted and the outcome of toxicology tests is awaited.

Pills were recovered from the grounds of the school. There are no suspicious circumstances." The school's headteacher, Dominic Carver, said Mrs Gent was "hugely popular". He added: "It's very tragic... She was a typical school cook; you could imagine Roald Dahl writing a book about her. She was a determined, strong, jolly lady."