Suffolk: Coroner releases body of movie legend Jean Kent for burial

Jean Kent in Trottie True Jean Kent in Trottie True

Monday, December 16, 2013
1:51 PM

Suffolk’s senior coroner has released the body of Jean Kent, the former movie star, after ordering a post-mortem examination and a forensic police investigation into the unusual circumstances of her death.

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Jean KentJean Kent

Miss Kent, a 92-year-old widow, was discovered on November 28 by her housekeeper, Rita Betts, collapsed and semi-conscious on the floor of her bedroom at her home in the village of Westhorpe, Suffolk, where she had lived for almost 40 years.

On arrival at West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St. Edmunds, paramedics discovered that Miss Kent had serious chest injuries, fractured ribs, and severe and chronic bruising to her body.

She died at West Suffolk Hospital at 3.40am on the morning of Saturday, November 30. A police inquest into her death will be held in Bury St. Edmunds.

Police officers have stressed that they are treating her death as unexplained rather than suspicious, which is “standard procedure with sudden deaths”.

The Coroner’s decision means that Jean Kent’s funeral will now take place at 12 noon next Saturday, December 21, at the 13th-century St. Margaret’s Church, Westhorpe, with the star’s friend, Ian Jackson, officiating at the service, which will be followed by Miss Kent’s burial with her husband, Austrian-born actor and property developer, Jusuf RamartHurst, in the village churchyard.

Family mourners will be led by Miss Kent’s second cousin, Cirencester company director Chris James, his wife, Dulcie, and their daughters, Alexandra and Lauren, as well as Mr. James’s sister, Liz Mason, her husband Rob, and their son Ben. The star’s last-surviving first cousins, John Noaks and his sister Brenda Board, will also be present.

The address at the funeral will be given by former national film and theatre critic, and Daily Mail columnist Michael Thornton, a close friend of the star.

He said: “The entire village of Westhorpe is banding together to give Jean a truly memorable farewell. Her closest friend and neighbour, Audrey Thomas, is reading a poem entitled ‘Friendship’. Another friend in the village, Heather Wilkinson, is catering the reception at Jean’s house, which will follow the funeral, and Jean’s own voice will be heard singing twice during the service.

“The funeral is open to the public, and also to the media, which is Jean’s way of saying a heartfelt thank-you to all the people who supported her so loyally throughout her long career as a star.”

Jean and her husband were happily married for 43 years, beginning with a movie-star wedding at St. George’s Church, Hanover Square, in London’s Mayfair in 1946, with screen idol Stewart Granger as best man, and crowds of thousands of film fans gate-crashing the ceremony and mobbing the bride and groom as they emerged from the church.

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