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Thursday, 24 July 2014

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Pensioner died after falling into Cumbrian river during walk

The mother of a Cockermouth takeaway owner died after falling into the river during an afternoon walk, an inquest heard.

Yet Ying Ho photo
Yet Ying Ho

Yet Ying Ho, whose son Wai Lim Cheung runs Little Basil on Market Place, was pronounced dead at the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven on October 21 last year.

Holidaymaker James Bould had spotted the 74-year-old struggling in the water and trying to cling to rocks.

Mr Bould’s father Peter called police and they and others tried to find a way to reach Mrs Ho. Within minutes she lost her grip and was swept downstream. Mr Bould said she had stopped moving by the time she went out of sight.

Mrs Ho became caught in rocks in the river near the footbridge at High Sand Lane. PC Bruce Kemp and visitor Michael Jessett scrambled to the riverbank to pull her from the water.

In a statement PC Kemp said she had no signs of life when she was pulled from the river.

The inquest heard that mother-of-two Mrs Ho was born in Hong Kong and moved to England in 1997.

In 2006 Mr Cheung moved to Cockermouth and she came to live with him. Mr Cheung said: “She lived quite a solitary life. She didn’t speak English very well and tended to stay at home most of the time.”

In 2008 she was diagnosed with kidney damage and began dialysis last summer. That improved her health and she was much stronger than before. Her son encouraged her to go for walks to get out of the house and he told the inquest the day she died had been a perfect day to be outdoors. She often went to Harris Park, he said.

Kirkgate resident Rebecca Hanson raised concerns that Mrs Ho may have slipped on a loose bit of riverbank with no fence on Rubbybanks Road.

But deputy coroner Robert Chapman, who recorded a verdict of accidental death, said it was impossible to know where she had fallen in.

He added that there was no suggestion that she had intended to harm herself and Mr Bould’s evidence showed she was trying to escape.

Mr Chapman said: “Everybody did their best to rescue her but unfortunately it was all too late.”

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