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Kintbury mother of three died after fall, inquest told

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A MOTHER of three was found dead following a fall down stairs, an inquest heard on Monday, April 25.

The hearing, in Reading Town Hall, was told how a neighbour spotted the motionless body of Veronica Susan Packard through a window and alerted the emergency services.

Mrs Packard lived with her beloved pet dog in Mill Cottages, Station Road in Kintbury, after raising her children Rupert, Hugo and Elvira.

Reading Town Hall (56286750)
Reading Town Hall (56286750)

She had divorced in the 1980s, the inquest heard, and had settled into a peaceful, contented lifestyle, enjoying the company of her pet pug and pottering in her garden.

However she had a number of health issues including problems with mobility, and sometimes used a walking stick.

In addition, she was a heavy smoker and often drank more than was good for her, the hearing was told.

On September 24 last year a neighbour, James Baker, called the emergency services to say he could see Mrs Packard through her window, lying at the foot of some stairs.

A police officer who attended entered through the back door, which was left unlocked for her dog, and found Mrs Packard lying lifeless, with a head injury.

A post mortem examination found a deep, 4.5cm long laceration in her scalp which had bled profusely.

Unfortunately, the bleeding had been exacerbated by a liver condition triggered by excessive alcohol consumption, the inquest heard.

As well as therapeutic levels of prescribed painkillers and other medicines, there was 158mcg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in Mrs Packard's system.

Assistant Berkshire coroner Alison McCormick said that, for context, this was almost twice the legal drink-drive limit, and was "a level associated with drunkenness".

The cause of death was given as "profuse bleeding from a deep laceration on the scalp, secondary to a head injury," with liver damage as a possible contributory factor.

In summary, Ms McCormick said: "It seems she was very happy and contented with her life.

"As she became older she experienced problems with her joints and sometimes had to rely on a stick.

"It is likely that she died from traumatic head injuries from an unwitnessed fall."

Ms McCormick formally recorded a conclusion of an accidental, alcohol-related death.

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