A WELL-KNOWN Andover woman who was described as a “force of nature” died after suffering a sudden cardiac arrest, an inquest has heard.

Heather Turner was admitted to Melbury Lodge, a mental health unit in Winchester, in January this year, after it was noticed that her mental health was in decline.

The 61-year-old was living in Mencap supported accommodation, as she had done since she was 21 due to physical and learning difficulties caused from the umbilical cord being wrapped round her neck at birth.

An inquest at Winchester Coroner’s Court on Monday heard staff at Melbury expected Heather’s mental health problems to be resolved as it mirrored a previous admission in 2016.

But her difficulties began to worsen, and tests were carried out to discover the cause of the decline but a root cause could not be found, and on March 16 she was taken to Winchester hospital after she was suspected of having a stroke.

In a report, Dr Charles Johnson, consultant in emergency medicine said: “In the past few weeks there was change in behaviour and leaning to left.”

He added that tests conducted at the hospital were normal and Heather was transferred back to Melbury, but she returned the following day after an unwitnessed fall and was again sent back to the unit.

On March 18, whilst at Melbury, Heather was being put to bed when she suffered a cardiac arrest and was rushed to the Winchester hospital after she lost consciousness and stopped breathing, it was found that she had suffered “catastrophic neurological damage”.

Talks with hospital staff concluded that Heather’s life-support machine should be turned off and the difficult decision was made by her sister Jane Beck. Heather breathed unaided for four days, but on March 23 she died.

Speaking about her sister, Jane said: “She was a force of nature, very strong. She loved her life in Andover and she got well looked after by the people of Andover. She was really well known around the town for always being there.”

Following her death, an investigation was carried out into the care Heather received by the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust but it was found that it was “entirely in accordance” with what is expected.

Coroner Samantha Marsh concluded Heather died of natural causes following a cardiac arrest causing a hypoxic brain injury which “wasn’t survivable and Heather would not have recovered”.