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Woman found dead on the beach had unknown heart problem

The inquest was held at the coroner's court in Winchester
The inquest was held at the coroner's court in Winchester

A PENSIONER found dead on a beach at Milford had an undiagnosed heart problem, an inquest heard.

Sheila Chrystie (70) who suffered from anxiety and depression, left her home in Ellesfield Drive, West Parley, just after 7pm on 28th January.

When she did not return, her husband Andrew contacted the police and she was found the following morning by a dog walker.

Mr Chrystie told Winchester Coroner's Court that Sheila often went out in her car as she found it calming. He said: “Driving was just another technique to reduce her anxiety. She found it very helpful.”

Speaking of the spot where she was found, he added: “[Milford] is a place we had gone to frequently, whether to admire the Needles or go on a bicycle to Lymington, along the sea wall.”

The inquest heard how Mr Chrystie and his son found Sheila’s car the following morning in the usual spot where they parked. Shortly after, police arrived and broke the news that Sheila's body had been found on the beach.

A statement from local resident Alan Gray was read to the court, which explained he had been walking his dog at around 7.55am on the clifftop when he spotted Sheila. He said: “I could see something on the shoreline and it looked like a body.

"I made my way the short distance home to call the police and returned to the clifftop.”

PC Mark Atrill told the inquest that upon arriving at the scene he found Sheila face down on the shingle. She had a minor cut to her forehead, but no other obvious injuries and her death was classed as non-suspicious but unexplained.

Pathologist Dr Eleanor Jayne, who carried out the post-mortem examination, told the court the cut to Sheila's head was most likely sustained as she fell on to the shingle.

Dr Jaynes said Sheila had suffered a minor heart attack around three to four weeks before she died, which she was unlikely to have been aware of.

She added this had caused scarring to the heart and caused it to suddenly stop.

She gave her cause of death as acute left ventricular failure. Coroner Grahame Short recorded a conclusion of death by natural causes.

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