Surrey Police action over balcony fall death appropriate

Police who dealt with a woman who died after a fall from the balcony of a first-floor flat in Surrey acted appropriately, investigators have said.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigated contact between Surrey Police and Frances Murray in Walton-on-Thames on 13 November 2011.

The 57-year-old was seriously injured in the fall and died later in hospital.

She had twice called 999 earlier in the evening.

IPCC Commissioner Mike Franklin said: "Our investigation found police acted appropriately in attending promptly to the agitated call from Frances Murray, liaising with family members and trying concertedly to gain access to the flat to check on her welfare.

"Sadly they were unable to do so in the time available to them."

Found on pavement

The IPCC said Ms Murray called police twice that night and officers, with family members, attempted to persuade her to let them into her apartment immediately before she fell.

Ms Murray had a history of mental health issues and family had arrived before police.

Officers spoke to Ms Murray through the door but she refused to let them in.

The IPCC said Ms Murray told police she would speak to them the next day, but another officer arrived minutes later and found her on the pavement beneath the balcony of her flat.

A coroner recorded a narrative verdict into the death at an inquest on Monday.

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