Woman died after falling down stairs

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A HEBBURN woman died of a head injury after falling down the stairs, an inquest heard.

Margaret Capps was found dead at her home, in Windsor Crescent,in May this year.

South Tyneside coroner Terence Carney heard that the 53-year-old had fallen down the stairs the night before.

Detective Constable Alison Brown, of the major crime team in South Tyneside, told the hearing that police were called to the scene just after 7am on May 9.

Officers were called by the ambulance service after an emergency call from Ms Capps’s partner, Stephen Robertson.

Mr Robertson, who was not at the inquest, told officers that Ms Capps had been drinking, and consumed three litres of cider that day.

Mr Robertson said he had gone to bed between 8pm and 9pm, and left Ms Capps downstairs, but woke up at 11pm and saw her lying at the bottom of the stairs.

Unable to lift her on his own, he went to a neighbour for help.

Mr Robertson said he put her on the settee, covered her in a dressing gown and a duvet before going back to bed.

He woke up at 6.45am the next day, and was unable to rouse her.

Dr Gemma Kemp, a specialist registrar in forensic pathology at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, said Ms Capps had died from a head injury.

She said Ms Capps’s injuries suggested that she would have fallen down the stairs and that the impact was so severe that it fractured her skull.

She also suffered from broken ribs, bruising of the brain, and a “substantial” blood clot.

The inquest also heard that Ms Capps had epilepsy and was prone to seizures, that she had mobility issues, and was visited regularly by home carers.

It was asked if Ms Capps might have survived had medical attention been sought the night of the fall, but the inquest heard her survival was unlikely.

Mr Carney said: “I am satisfied through the evidence that we have heard that Margaret suffered this head injury in a fall.

“I am satisfied that that head injury and fall were inadvertent and accidental and essentially this is what I should record as her cause of death.”

n Finding: Accidental death.