Kennett: Racetrack injuries contributed to death of Sharron Murgatroyd, a ‘brave, impressive and very inspirational’ former jockey
17:40 09 April 2014
A racetrack fall more than 20 years ago has contributed to the recent death of a former leading jockey, an inquest heard.
Sharron Murgatroyd, 54, of Kennett, near Newmarket, died at West Suffolk Hospital on March 28, three days after being admitted with a suspected heart attack.
Coroner Peter Dean, at an inquest held today in Ipswich, recorded a verdict of death by pneumonia “as contributed by the long term consequences of a riding accident in 1991”.
Miss Murgatroyd fell from her horse at Bangor-on-Dee racecourse, breaking her neck and leaving her paralysed from the chest down. Doctors told her she had just five years to live.
However she defied expectations and even continued her involvement with horse racing, commentating on events, writing four books and fundraising for the Injured Jockeys Fund with a sponsored a parachute jump.
“She had shown amazing courage since the accident which cut short a promising career as an amateur leading lady jockey,” said Dr Dean.
“Sharron was a brave, impressive and very inspirational person.”
A statement from Justine Murgatroyd, Sharron’s sister, told how she had been “besotted with horses” ever since riding her first pony at the age of three.
Born in Keighley, West Yorkshire, she moved to Newmarket, aged 19, to pursue her dream to be a jockey.
Miss Murgatroyd gained her horse racing licence aged 22 and went on to win seven flat races and a further seven over jumps.
Her career was ended by the fall in August 1991, the first race of the jump season, when her horse, Independent Air, fell at the final fence.
Her injuries caused long-term pain and regular chest infections, however her family said she “never moaned” and continued to support the sport she loved.
Dr Dean said she fell ill again in 2013 with a serious chest infection but “once again she bounced back”.
On March 25, however, Ms Murgatroyd was admitted to hospital with a suspected heart attack.
Despite “appearing to make a good recovery”, by March 28 her condition had once again deteriorated.
Her family were called, but while they were travelling to see her in hospital, Miss Murgatroyd died.
“Our thoughts are very much with the family, friends and all those whose lives she touched, “said Dr Dean.