Daughter's tribute to tragic mother

A HEARTBROKEN daughter whose mother's death prompted police to launch a murder inquiry has spoken for the first time of her family's ordeal in the hours after the tragedy.

A HEARTBROKEN daughter whose mother's death prompted police to launch a murder inquiry has spoken for the first time of her family's ordeal in the hours after the tragedy.

Lisa Holder said she never doubted the head injuries which killed Sandra Thompson, who she described as her “best friend”, were anything other than accidental.

Mrs Thompson, 44, died late on Friday night after falling down a flight of stairs at her home in St Nicholas Close, Bury St Edmunds.

A man who was arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder shortly afterwards was later released, after a post-mortem revealed Mrs Thompson's head injuries were consistent with a fall.

Last night, Miss Holder, 19, who lived with her mother and 18-year-old brother, Steven, described how she had “laughed and joked” with her on the night she died.

“It is a really tragic thing to have happened and it has been a real shock for the whole family, but at no point did we think it was anything other than an accident,” she said.

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“She was so full of life, and she was not just my mum, but was my best friend as well.

“My boyfriend, Mark, and I had spent Friday evening with her. We had a few drinks and a Chinese takeaway, and had a really good night just sitting around laughing and joking, and playing 'name that tune' with songs on the stereo.

“Then Mark and I decided to go into town, so I kissed mum goodbye and she told me to be good. That was the last time I ever saw her.”

Paramedics were called to St Nicholas Close less than an hour after Miss Holder had left her mother's house, but Mrs Thompson, who worked as a health support worker at Cornwallis Court care home in Bury, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Miss Holder said: “Everyone who knew my mum loved her. She was such a fun-loving person and she will be missed by so many people. She will never be forgotten.

“We had a really good time on the night she died, and I know that she was happy which really means a lot.”

Stella Sansom, who used to live next-door to Mrs Thompson at St Nicholas Close, paid tribute to her friend.

“Sandra was a member of the British Sugar social club, and I first met her when I started work there five years ago,” she said.

“She was so full of life and was one of the nicest people you could ever wish to meet, because she just had such a lovely personality.

“She would often get up and do karaoke at the club, and we used to have such a laugh together.

“I was really devastated when I found out about the accident, and I will really miss her.”

Mrs Thompson, who moved to Bury from London when she was 15-years-old, worked as a temporary member of staff at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury during her career as a care worker.

A hospital spokesman said: “We were shocked and very saddened to hear about Sandra's death and wish to offer our condolences to her family and friends.

“Sandra was a member of our outpatients' department team up until a year ago, when she joined our bank staff and worked in various general medical wards.

“Her colleagues in the outpatients department, where she worked as a nursing assistant, remember her as a hard working well-liked woman, who was fun to work with.

“They were sad when she left the department in August 2004 as they felt they were losing a valuable member of the team and a good friend. Sandra popped back in from time to time and kept in touch. They are very upset to learn of her death.”

Alan McMahon, home manager at Cornwallis Court, said: “Sandra had only started work here a couple of weeks ago on night duty, but she was already a very valued member of the care staff team.

“She was very committed and was a carer through and through. She was much loved by all the staff and her tragic death has come as a real shock. She will be sadly missed.”

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