Pregnant army major Lesley Boden 'died suddenly in her sleep'

A "fit and healthy" young army major died suddenly in her sleep just weeks before she was due to give birth to her baby daughter, an inquest has heard.

Lesley Boden, 33, from West Wellow, Hampshire, suffered an unexplained cardiac death, known as sudden adult death syndrome (SADS).

She was found dead, last May. Her unborn daughter, Rosina Eleanor, also died, the inquest in Winchester heard.

Coroner Grahame Short recorded a verdict of death by natural causes.

Start Quote

It's a clearly very sad death of an apparently fit and healthy woman in the last stages of a pregnancy”

End Quote Grahame Short Central Hampshire Coroner

At the time of her death Maj Boden, who was based at 17 Port and Maritime Regiment, Marchwood, near Southampton was seven and a half months pregnant.

'Everything normal'

Her pregnancy had been "reassuringly normal" with no problems, the hearing was told.

Her partner Richard Wade, who is also an army major in the 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, said he spoke to her on Skype on May 15, from Cyprus where he was based at the time.

"We talked about the baby and me coming home in a few days' time," he said.

"Nothing was out of the normal. Lesley appeared happy and in good health."

The alarm was raised the next day when work colleagues could not get hold of her.

Sgt Maj Mark Watson and Lt Rachel Gibbs went to her house and broke in where they discovered Maj Boden dead in her bed.

Pathologist Adnan Al-Badri said he could find no problems or infection in all of Maj Boden's organs and tests showed there was no alcohol or drugs in her system.

'Intelligent and beautiful'

"The most likely cause [of death], is a sudden cardiac death and the reason for that is that we ruled out any other cause of her death," he said.

"Although her heart looked normal, that does not rule out problems with the electric conduction of the heart that can cause death."

Mr Short said: "It's a clearly very sad death of an apparently fit and healthy woman in the last stages of a pregnancy which makes the loss even harder because her daughter died in utero, at the same time."

In a statement released after the hearing, the family of Maj Boden said they were "devastated" by her sudden death.

"She was a loving, caring, intelligent and beautiful young woman who was looking forward to the birth of her baby girl in a few weeks' time," they said.

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