Death of couple who fell down stairs was “tragic accident”, inquest hears
- Credit: Archant
The death of a couple who died three days apart after falling down the stairs at their home in Aldeburgh has been described in an inquest as a “tragic accident”.
Chun Lan Foo Hewitson, 55, who was known as Connie, was found dead by paramedics at the bottom of the stairs of her home in Acheson Way on October 15 last year, next to her severely injured husband John.
Mr Hewitson, 90, was rushed to Ipswich Hospital but died three days later.
An inquest in Ipswich, on Thursday, August 1, heard that Mr Hewitson had lived with dementia and was almost blind through glaucoma so required full-time care from his wife.
During the inquest, Mrs Hewitson was described as an "exceptional carer" who dedicated her life to looking after her husband as his health deteriorated.
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Suffolk senior coroner Nigel Parsley told the hearing that paramedics had been called to their home after a neighbour noticed their door had been ajar since the previous day.
An investigation was launched by Suffolk Constabulary soon after the discovery of Mrs Hewitson's body but was later closed. A police report said that the scene was consistent with a fall down stairs, describing it as a "tragic accident".
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A post mortem examination revealed Mrs Hewitson had died of the result of a severe head injury. Mr Hewitson died of bronchial pneumonia but had also suffered head and chest injuries, including several broken ribs.
A statement from Mrs Hewitson's daughter Pansy Kheung, which was read aloud in court, said that Mr Hewitson had suffered several falls in the months before the couple's death and has almost fallen down the stairs just weeks before.
Mr Parsley said that, due to Mr Hewiston's dementia and poor eyesight, he liked to keep hold of his wife's arm just to know someone was there with him.
Concluding the inquest, Mr Parsley said using a balance of probabilities, Mrs Hewitson's head injuries were as a result of a fall down stairs.
"The fall appears to have taken place at the same time as the fall down the stairs of John Hewitson," he said.
"At the time of the fall John was being attended to by his wife who also fell with him."
He concluded that the couple's death was an accident.