North East Wales

Flood death: Margaret Hughes, 91, 'would not leave' home

Margaret Hughes Image copyright North Wales Police
Image caption Margaret Hughes refused to go with neighbours on the morning floods hit

A "vulnerable" pensioner who drowned during severe flooding refused to leave her home as water levels rose, an inquest has heard.

Margaret Hughes, 91, was found dead in her bungalow during floods at St Asaph, Denbighshire, in November 2012.

Witness Steven Green told the Ruthin hearing he knocked on her door at 09:00 GMT and said she should go with him.

But the pensioner, who was eating breakfast, "weighed up the pros and cons" and declined, shutting the door.

Mr Green said he had been staying with his parents in a nearby street when the floods hit.

He woke up to see a lot of activity on the street and so decided to check on his grandmother, who lived next door to Mrs Hughes.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption More than 400 homes and businesses were hit by the flood water in St Asaph

Mr Green's grandmother was safe, but he saw a Red Cross worker at Mrs Hughes' door and went to help.

"I think you need to come with us," Mr Green told the great-grandmother.

At that point the flood water was flowing but had not reached kerb height. It was a foot away from her house, Mr Green said.

"She was eating her breakfast," Mr Green told the inquest.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The River Elwy burst its banks in November 2012

"She looked like she gave it some thought, she weighed it up but she decided not to... and closed the door."

He added: "She looked like she weighed up the pros and cons of it."

Mr Green told the hearing Mrs Hughes looked "warm and cosy".

"She was old but she understood what I was asking her to do," he said. "There was no misunderstanding."

The hearing also heard from David Hallows, one of two Red Cross workers who had been asked to help evacuate the area.

"From what I could see happening, a crisis was coming," he said.

Mr Hallows said he advised Mrs Hughes to leave her home, and pointed to her disabled ramp which had water lapping up around it.

"I think she felt comfortable where she was and she wanted to stay," he said.

"She said she was fine and the door was closed."

Water levels rose by up to 7ft (2.1m) in about 30 minutes.

On Wednesday, the inquest heard Mrs Hughes had joined a flood warning scheme but an alert failed to reach her.

She had signed up to receive alerts through her daughter Gwenda Jones's mobile phone, who she said she did not get one on that day.

The hearing continues.

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