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Inquest to be held for missing Royal Navy poster girl Buffy
AN INQUEST could be held for the missing teacher who drowned in a Swanage Cave despite her body never being found.
The tragedy happened on Saturday, November 2 when Charlotte ‘Buffy’ Furness-Smith, went coasteering with her 31-year-old brother Alex and was washed into the Tilly Whim cave.
Despite brave attempts by rescuers who spent hours talking to her through a blowhole they couldn’t reach her in time.
An heroic officer even made the decision to squeeze down the 1.5-foot gap filled with sea spray in an attempt to reach her – but discovered that she had died as the seawater rose.
Now, Dorset’s senior coroner sheriff Payne has confirmed that he will wait until six months has passed before writing to the Chief Coroner in London to request an inquest.
He said: “A reasonable period has to pass before applying for an inquest in these situations when a body has not been found.”
Last month the family and friends of Charlotte, aged 30, a teacher and former Royal Navy poster girl who worked at the London Olympics, paid tribute to Charlotte.
In a family statement her mum Patricia, 57, and dad Charles, 58, from Amersham in Buckingham-shire, were stated as ‘devastated’.
Ms Furness-Smith’s godfather Jon Coles said: “Buffy was a wonderful girl with an engaging personality and a fabulous friend to all. She was a dedicated and vivacious teacher, who loved the outdoor life.”
Ms Furness-Smith was born in Trinidad and Tobago and the family moved to the UK when she was eight. She joined the Royal Navy Reserves at Exeter University where she graduated in engineering before going on to qualify as a maths teacher.
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