Essex

Burnham-on-Crouch: Beverley O'Connor death 'accidental', coroner concludes

Bev O'Connor Image copyright Wendy Stamp
Image caption Beverley O'Connor was found at the bottom of her stairs at home in the early hours of 9 June

A woman whose death sparked a murder inquiry had fallen down her stairs with a "high level" of alcohol in her system, an inquest heard.

Beverley O'Connor, 55, was found in her house in Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex by her son on 8 June.

Two men were initially arrested on suspicion of murder, but they were released a week later after police found no evidence of foul play.

Senior coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray concluded her death was an accident.

Ms O'Connor, who worked at Tesco Express in the town, was found by her son and his friend at the bottom of her stairs in Blackwater Close.

The coroner's officer told the inquest that Ms O'Connor had enjoyed socialising and had been known to have falls after drinking.

Image caption Police dropped a murder inquiry and said Ms O'Connor's death was not suspicious

A post-mortem examination found she died as a result of spinal injuries and acute alcohol intoxication, which the coroner described as being at "a very high level".

"On the balance of probability, it was an accident. Beverley O'Connor died as a result of an accident," she said at the conclusion of the five-minute inquest in Chelmsford.

She offered her sympathies to the family of Ms O'Connor, a well-known fundraiser in the town.

Following her death, friends left flowers outside the shop and Burnham Town Council paid tribute to her "sparkling, lovely character".

"Beverley was such a generous soul, often going more than the extra mile to raise money for good causes," said a council spokesman.

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