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Misadventure verdict at inquest on Bridport woman who fell from bedroom window
AN ELDERLY woman who fell out of her first floor window died as a result of ‘misadventure’, a coroner ruled.
Phyllis Coombs, 94, of Gale Crescent, Bridport, sustained serious injuries after falling from her bedroom window in the early hours of Christmas Eve last year.
She was discovered by her neighbours who called for an ambulance. She later died in hospital.
Sergeant Jo Tearall of Dorset Police, speaking at the inquest, confirmed she attended the scene after the incident was reported.
She also confirmed the police had also been at Phyllis’ address earlier that evening.
Phyllis, the sole occupant of the house, reported that her neighbour Nigel was coming to cut off her finger.
Officers found no neighbour by the name of Nigel.
Sgt Tearall said: “She was a regular caller to Dorset Police and was known to be a vulnerable person with mental health issues.”
The police found no sign of the house being broken into and the only door locked in the property led to Phyllis’ bedroom.
Hilary Kenway, a long-term family friend of Phyllis, spoke at the inquest.
She suggested Phyllis might have been worried somebody was chasing her, which is why she went upstairs and locked the door.
Ms Kenway confirmed she had noticed Phyllis increasingly suffer from paranoid delusions over the past 15 years. These delusions were mostly about conspiracies to kill her if she set foot in Dorset County Hospital, before spreading to neighbours ‘who were out to get her’, according to Ms Kenway.
Phyllis’ son Roger died at the age of 39 whilst her husband Wilfred passed away in 2001.
She had looked after both as they both fought illnesses.
Ms Kenway said: “She was a born mother and dedicated herself to looking after the people she most loved.
“It was therefore tragically ironic that there was really no-one left to look after her when she needed it.”
Pathologist Dr Mark Deverell recorded the cause of death as being pulmonary edema and bronchial pneumonia, suffering head and chest trauma.
Recording his verdict, coroner Sheriff Payne said Mrs Coombs had made her way upstairs, locked the door, opened the bedroom window and went out of it.
He said: “Although such an activity by a normal person would be recognised as a very high risk activity, I think that maybe in her mental state she was not fully appreciative of that.”
He later added: “It was something totally inadvertent and certainly not intended to ultimately lead to her death.”