TRIBUTES have been paid to an Andover woman who passed away after suffering an accidental fall in her back garden.

Myrtle Mildred Ray, 86, who was living alone at her residence in Conholt Road in Andover died on November 3, 2020, following a fall in her back garden, an inquest at Winchester Coroner’s Court heard.

Area Coroner Jason Pegg gave a verdict of accidental fall leading to her death, and added that had that fall not happened, she would not have died that day.

He added: “Mrs Ray had some mental conditions in 2017 and she had spent a period of time in hospital.

“She spent a lot of time in her garden. She was someone who was unsteady on her feet.

“On November 3, her carer Linda Minall attended her property and could not find Mrs Ray. Upon investigation, she found her lying on the grass in the back garden.

“She was soaked in wet, and was cold. Ms Minall immediately called the emergency services and Mrs Ray was taken to Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, where she passed away.”

Mrs Ray had a temperature of 21 degrees and had suffered cardiac arrest by the time she reached the hospital.

Her son Nicholas Long, who gave a statement to the coroner, said Mrs Ray was stable mentally and physically at the time of her death, although she had become frail and her eyesight deteriorated over the past year.

He added: “She was very independent and was determined to stay alone at her home as long as possible.

“Having been widowed twice, mum experienced loneliness. In 2016, her mental health deteriorated, and she had to stay at a hospital for several months in 2017.

“She used to spend a lot of time in her garden. She visited her back garden during the day and evening, often tidying the summer house.

“We were very concerned about her health and were closely monitoring her. We had told her to call us in any case of emergency.”

Her carer Ms Minall gave a statement that Mrs Ray had occasional slips, having previously been fallen in her garden.

“On November 3, 2020, I turned up at her home address, but could not find her inside the house. Later I found her lying in her back garden. I was horrified as she was soaking wet, very cold, her eyes were flickering.

“I got her blankets and immediately called the emergency services.”

Dr Sarah Noble, who attended her at the hospital, gave a statement that Mrs Ray had a history of medical schizophrenia and muscular dystrophy.

A post-mortem found that she had suffered rib and sternal fractures, and had bruising on her frontal scalp and back of her head.

It also found no evidence of any natural disease contributing to her death, and hyperthermia and ketoacidosis caused the fall.

Following evidence being heard, the coroner ruled that Mrs Ray died because of an accidental fall.