Tributes have been paid to a ‘one of a kind’ Tory mayor who was found dead in her home after allegedly struggling during lockdown.

Mum-of-one Samantha Dodd, 45, is said to have sent concerning messages to friends, before failing to return their calls and messages for more than 24 hours. Police found her body at her cottage in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, shortly after 5pm on May 30.

The catering company worker had been an active Conservative councillor for 11 years, after following in her late father Richard’s footsteps. She has been described by friends as ‘somebody who could always bring a smile to your face’.

Friend Brian Butt, 71, said: ‘She was lovely and I had messages which caused me concern. I offered help but she politely refused. A little while later she sent me a message in a hearts background saying “I am sorry. I am very upset”.’

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Another friend said: ‘She had some personal difficulties around Christmas but I thought she was over them as she had seemed fine when I had seen her since.

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‘But she was a very sociable person and always doing stuff so this lockdown period would have been especially hard for her.’

Conservative Welsh Parliament member Nick Ramsay described Sam as ‘warm-hearted, generous and full of life’ and ‘a breath of fresh air when she joined the party’.

He said: ‘I last saw Sam about 10 days ago when she arrived at my house to deliver food from her catering company.

‘She poked her head out of the van window and we had a good chat. There was nothing to indicate there was anything wrong.’

Monmouth MP David Davies said he was ‘deeply shocked’ to hear of the death, adding that Sam was a ‘joy to work with’.

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Current Abergavenny mayor, Tony Konieczny added that she was ‘a hard-working town councillor’ who embraced her role as mayor ‘with enthusiasm and pride’.

A spokeswoman for Gwent Police said: ‘We were called to an address in Trinity Street, Abergavenny, at around 5.05pm on Saturday 30 May, to a report of the sudden death of a woman.

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‘Paramedics from the Welsh Ambulance Service attended and confirmed that the 45-year-old woman was deceased.

‘The death is not being treated as suspicious. The woman’s next of kin and HM Coroner have been informed.’

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