Death of ‘bubbly’ woman who fell from window was drug-related, coroner finds
- Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY
The death of a “bubbly and funny” 33-year-old after she fell from a second-floor window was drug-related, a coroner has ruled.
Emma Fraser, from Sudbury, sustained a traumatic brain injury in the fall and died the following afternoon at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, an inquest heard on Thursday.
Police had been called to the flat Miss Fraser shared with a former girlfriend and her younger relative in Trinity Court, Halstead, shortly after midnight on Sunday, June 27. Their attendance followed a 999 call from Miss Fraser claiming she had been poisoned and that someone was trying to kill her.
Her former partner Rachael Ward said the pair had become “companions” after a mutual split last Christmas. She told Essex Coroner’s Court in Chelmsford that Miss Fraser’s mental health had recently deteriorated with increasingly obsessive thoughts following a past diagnosis of OCD.
The inquest heard Miss Fraser was on antidepressants and had sought help from Suffolk’s wellbeing service, to which she had been referred for cognitive behavioural therapy and counselling.
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Miss Ward said she and Miss Fraser had smoked cannabis during the evening of June 26 while watching a film at Trinity Court with a friend, Joshua Mercer.
Mr Mercer told the coroner Miss Fraser began to act strangely when she called her mother Cheryl to warn her to get out of her house because she could “smell gas”. He said she then began vomiting before calling police saying she had been poisoned, with Miss Fraser later apologising for her behaviour, saying she thought she needed sectioning.
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Miss Ward described her ex as appearing “wide-eyed” and “sweating”, adding: “It wasn’t Emma, it was like nothing I had seen before.”
The inquest heard that Miss Fraser jumped out of the window. Area coroner Lincoln Brookes told the hearing that police investigations into the incident, and subsequent reviews following a complaint from Miss Fraser’s family, have ruled out third party involvement.
Concerns had been raised by the family over police handling of the incident, including not initially treating it as a crime and a failure to secure CCTV in the days that followed.
Detective Inspector Jamie Mills of Essex Police, who took charge of the probe a few hours after Miss Fraser’s fall, confirmed the incident was not initially treated as a potential crime and that the flat was not forensically investigated until the Monday evening.
He also said an investigator had not secured CCTV within a 14-day window, but added the footage would not have shown the window she fell from in any case.
Her mother, Cheryl, told the coroner she still felt her daughter “was a victim of foul play”.
Miss Fraser’s brother, Danny, also raised concern on behalf of the family that there were others in the flat during the evening, but the coroner said he had heard no evidence to confirm this.
Police witnesses from the night of the fall described their view of Miss Fraser from the second-floor window at Trinity Court.
PC Daniel Parrish said she “seemed to be in a state of absolute panic” and appeared “intent on getting out of the window”.
He and PC Robert Clarke said they arrived to hear Miss Fraser “screaming and shouting”, describing how she “launched herself” out and fell to the ground.
But the officers said they saw no-one else near her at the window. Mr Brookes said the 33-year-old had suffered a traumatic brain injury caused by a fall from a height, recording this as her medical cause of death.
Toxicology results showed no evidence of excessive amounts of tablets or medicines at the time of Miss Fraser’s death.
He felt evidence to support a conclusion of suicide was not sufficient, with her mother adding that Miss Fraser would not have taken her own life “in a million years” due to strong religious beliefs.
Mr Brookes added that he felt Miss Fraser had “launched herself” from the window while she had been in a “state of drug-fuelled anxiety, paranoia and delusion” and that she believed she was “fleeing a perceived peril”. He concluded that the 33-year-old died as a result of a drug-related death.
Miss Fraser’s mother paid tribute to her daughter as a “kind, gentle girl with a beautiful soul”.
She said she was “bubbly and funny”, adding that they had a “bond that could never be broken”.