Riddle of woman's high-rise death fall

Mystery still surrounds the death of a woman who died after plunging 120ft from a block of flats in Scholes.

An inquest held at Bolton Coroner's Court recorded an open verdict into the death of Carole Almond, after coroner Jennifer Leeming said evidence proved inconclusive as to whether she had fallen out of the window without intending to take her own life.

Miss Almond's friend, Carol Mulvaney described her frantic bid to stop her friend as she ran up to the 12th floor of Mannion House in Scholes, screaming: "I'm going to do it, I'm going to end it"

The inquest heard how Miss Almond grabbed her friend's arm before pushing the window open as far as she could, climbing on to the window ledge and then "toppled out".

Just seconds before, Miss Almond, 39, who lived alone on the second floor of Mannion House, in School Lane, made a desperate phone call to her mother on her mobile phone.

Her body was found outside the front entrance to the high rise flats on Thursday, July 17, last year.

The former heroin addict suffered from severe depression and had attempted to take her own life in November 2002 and in early 2003, when she took an overdose.

Her father, Arthur Almond, told the inquest: "Carole went to Leigh Infirmary's psychiatric ward for help and stayed there until April when she discharged herself."

Miss Almond was also suffering from ME and experienced chronic fatigue and painful joints.

Just two days before her death, she was prescribed anti-depressants from her GP, who she told she had "suicidal tendencies".

Dr Shaun Clark, who is based at the Sullivan Way Surgery in Scholes, said: "She was depressed and anxious with clear intentions of wanting to take her own life."

But two days later, her friend Carol Mulvaney went to see her.

She told the hearing: "She seemed to be depressed so I asked her 'What's the matter?'. And she took hold of my arm and said: 'I'm going to do it.'

"She told me to follow her to the 12th floor, so we went up in the lift. She kept saying 'I need to phone my mum' and began to punch the numbers in her mobile phone. She was crying to her mother.

"When we reached the 12th floor she grabbed my arm and pulled me to the window. She put her mobile phone down and pushed the window open as far as she could. She climbed on to the window ledge, shouting: 'I'm going to do it.'

Ms Mulvaney said: "I tried to stop her and grabbed her and shouted: 'Don't do it. Don't be stupid.' But she toppled out of the window."

A note, addressed to her family, was found inside Carole's flat which indicated that she intended to take her own life.

Wigan coroner Jennifer Leeming said: "It isn't unusual for someone to demonstrate that they intend to end their life but not let it happen. There is a question mark over the fact as to whether she intended to take her life on that very day.

"I am aware of Carole's previous attempts to take her own life but I cannot be sure that at the time that she fell and she did not intend to carry the suicide through.

"In order to return a conclusion that Carole intended to take her own life, I have to be sure that beyond all reasonable doubt that this is what she decided to do.

"After reading and hearing all the evidence, I believe it gives rise to doubt on that day whether Carole pushed open the window and fell.

"I therefore, conclude an open verdict because evidence is not available to me of what was actually in Carole's mind."