Police call off Suffolk murder probe

A DEVOTED mother-of-two who detectives feared had been murdered at her Suffolk home died after a tragic fall down stairs, it has been revealed.Post mortem tests showed Sandra Thompson, 43, of St Nicholas Close, Bury St Edmunds, died of terrible head injuries after she was involved in an accident, rather than wounds inflicted at the hands of an attacker as first believed.

By James Mortlock

A DEVOTED mother-of-two who detectives feared had been murdered at her Suffolk home died after a tragic fall down stairs, it has been revealed.

Post mortem tests showed Sandra Thompson, 43, of St Nicholas Close, Bury St Edmunds, died of terrible head injuries after she was involved in an accident, rather than wounds inflicted at the hands of an attacker as first believed.

Police sealed off much of the 1960s square near the town's sugar beet factory late on Friday night after paramedics were called to Mrs Thompson's terraced house. Shortly afterwards a 45-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder.


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Police spokeswoman Anne-Marie Breach said following the results of the post mortem the man, who was arrested at Mrs Thompson's home after she was pronounced dead by a paramedic, had now been released.

The spokeswoman said: “Following the post mortem police are no longer treating the death as suspicious.

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“The examination at Ipswich Hospital revealed the woman's injuries were consistent with a fall. The man being held by police has now been released without charge. An inquest will be held.”

Officers confirmed last night that Mrs Thompson, who is believed to have been separated from her second husband, Clifford, had died after a fall down the stairs at the three-bedroom house.

Fighting back tears neighbour, Linda Marlow, 53, spoke of her sadness at the news of Mrs Thompson's death and said her thoughts were with the dead woman's two teenaged children. “She thought the world of her kids - she was an excellent mother and a wonderful neighbour,” she said.

“She was always so friendly - I can't believe what has happened. She also often spoke about her parents, who she was very fond of. What's happened is horrendous for the children and them.”

Earlier, neighbours and friends were stunned as news that police had launched a murder investigation reached them and teams of scene of crime officers were drafted in. The forensic experts erected a special tent directly outside Mrs Thompson's house and detailed door-to-door inquiries were also conducted.

Mrs Marlow, a widow, said she woke early on Saturday to find police and ambulance crews in the close.

“I woke up and all this commotion was going on. There were flashing lights and police. I had dropped off to sleep but I always pull the curtain back a little when I go to bed because I don't like the dark and I saw the police lights.”

Wendy Stannard, neighbourhood watch co-ordinator for the close, said Mrs Thomson, who is thought to have been a care worker, would always stop and chat.

“She was always very friendly. I think her son was still living at home but the daughter, who is a bit older, is living somewhere else. This must be horrendous for them.”

A childhood friend said Mrs Thompson, who was well known in the town, grew up on the Westley estate.

The friend, who asked not to be identified and was clearly shaken by the tragedy, said: “She was such a nice person - she was lovely and I'm totally amazed by this. I'm really very upset.”

The police were called to St Nicholas Close at just before midnight on Friday by an ambulance crew.

Shortly afterwards, a force spokesman said: “A woman was found inside the property with head injuries and she was pronounced dead at the scene by a paramedic.

“A 45-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder. The man, from Bury, was arrested at the scene a short while later. Police are currently treating the death as suspicious. However, officers are awaiting the result of a post-mortem examination.”

A spokesman for the East Anglian Ambulance Service said: “We received a call to go to an address in Bury late on Friday night. A rapid response vehicle and an ambulance attended.”

She was unable to say who called the ambulance service or whether there had been any attempts to resuscitate Mrs Thompson.

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