John le Carré: Spy writer died after fall at his home

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John le CarréImage source, PA Media
Image caption,
John le Carré wrote 25 books, with the first, Call For The Dead, being published in 1961

Spy author John Le Carré died days after a fall in the bathroom at his home in Cornwall, an inquest heard.

The author of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, fractured his ribs in the fall, the hearing in Truro was told.

The 89-year-old's condition worsened and he was taken to hospital where he died on 12 December.

Acting senior coroner for Cornwall Andrew Cox recorded a conclusion of accidental death.

'Slipped or tripped'

Mr Cox told the hearing that David John Moore Cornwell, Le Carré's real name, died from bronchial pneumonia, rib fractures and prostate cancer.

Mr Cornwell, who was born in Poole, Dorset, in 1931, fell on 4 December, injuring the left side of his chest and had tender ribs which he had fractured, the inquest heard.

The coroner read a statement from his son, Simon Cornwell, who said he understood his father had "got up in the night and slipped or tripped in the bathroom and fallen against the toilet or the bidet".

He said his father's mobility had been reduced, but he would generally decline an arm of support.

He also said his father was "clumsy and heavy on his feet" and less steady as he got older.

Image caption,
His own spy career came to an end in 1964 after his name was given to the Soviet Union

His death was not Covid-19 related, the inquest was told.

Mr Cornwell joined the Foreign Office after university.

His first novel, Call For The Dead, which was the first of 25 works, was published in 1961.

His third novel, 1963's The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, brought him worldwide acclaim.

His career as a spy came to an end in 1964 after his name was given to the Soviet Union by a double agent, an incident which inspired Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, published in 1974.

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