Cornwall

Woman, 66, froze to death in nightclothes, inquest hears

Dolores Woolcock Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Dolores Woolcock, seen here in a family photo, was described as a "loving, kind, and caring"

A woman froze to death after going out in "ghastly" weather conditions clad only in her nightclothes and slippers, an inquest has heard.

Dolores Woolcock, 66, was found by a dog walker on the pavement near her home in Connor Downs, Cornwall, on 10 December 2017.

An inquest heard it was "more likely than not" she had fallen while attempting to move her car.

She was taken to hospital with hypothermia but could not be revived.

An inquest at County Hall, Truro, heard revving sounds were heard coming from the street about seven hours before Miss Woolcock was found.

In a statement, neighbour Elaine Lee said she was woken at 12:30 GMT by engine noise and saw Miss Woolcock's car when she looked out of the window.

She said she was woken again later by continued revving noises.

'Stumbled in the weather'

The inquest heard Miss Woolcock was found next to her car at 07:00.

It was parked diagonally across the street, with the driver's side wheel resting on the pavement, 40m downhill from her home.

A torch and blood were found around the wheel, the hearing was told.

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly assistant coroner Andrew Cox said it was "more likely than not" that Miss Woolcock had got up to move her car in the middle of a "ghastly" night wearing her nightclothes and slippers.

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It appeared she had a reason to get out of her car, possibly because the brakes were stuck, Mr Cox said.

"She has either had a medical episode or she has stumbled in the weather... [she] has not been able to get up and she laid on the pavement throughout that night."

The Met Office said the overnight minimum temperature on 9 December 2017 was recorded as 4.1C, with wind and rain.

An inquest also heard Miss Woolcock had cared for her mother, who died in March 2017.

She had a history of refusing intervention from her GP and mental health teams.

Mr Cox concluded there was no evidence of third-party involvement and that the death was accidental.

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