Garden death an accident

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A WIGAN mum died of hypothermia after falling in the communal garden behind her bungalow, an inquest has heard.

Bolton Coroner’s Court was told how Christine Burgess, of Worsley Hall, was found lying near a metal fence to the rear of her home in Crabtree Road on the morning of January 24.

A post-mortem examination suggested Mrs Burgess, 50, had probably fallen in a disorientated state and been unable to return to the bungalow, but the exact circumstances of what happened remained unclear.

Toxicology reports showed Mrs Burgess had high levels of alcohol and large quantities of an anti-depressant medication in her blood at the time of her death, which contributed to but was not solely responsible of her death.

A police investigation ruled out any third party involvement or suspicious circumstances in her death,

Mrs Burgess had been known to be a heavy drinker since the death of her partner and her mother in a short period of time, but her son David told the court his mother had seemed more positive in the months before she passed away.

He said: “She started to get depression and drink heavily about 14 years ago.

“But when she moved to Crabtree Road we thought it might be a fresh start, and she did too. “I went to visit her about a week before she died to take some money and the shopping, and she was absolutely fine, although she kept a lot of things to herself and wouldn’t talk about them with anybody.

“It was a great shock when I received the phone call from my sister telling me she had died, there was not one warning sign.”

The post-mortem report showed Mrs Burgess had many signs consistent with hypothermia, including bright red skin on her knees and elbows and small ulcerated areas in the lining of her stomach.

Deputy Coroner Alan Walsh recorded a verdict of accidental death.

He said: “Mrs Burgess suffered the sadness of the death of her partner and her mother, which badly affected her.

“And as a result she started to drink heavily.

“I am certain her family could not have done more to save her.

“What happened in January is very difficult to accept. I am very sorry that she died in these circumstances.”