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Sunday, 31 August 2014

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Retired doctor made frantic bid to save wife after waterfall plunge

A retired doctor tried desperately to save his wife after she fell into a waterfall.

Sue Jones, 60, suffered fatal head injuries after falling around 15 feet into a stream near Force Forge, Satterthwaite, on January 11.

An inquest into her death heard how Dr Malcolm Jones, of Satterthwaite, had been walking with Mrs Jones at a place they had visited “many times”.

Dr Jones told the court: “We wanted to take the dog down a steep slope to a big pool so he could go in the water.

“Sue went ahead and I was about 20 yards behind. Then I heard a short scream and she was gone.

“I ran to the edge and her body had already washed down the rapids.”

Dr Jones said his wife became lodged face-down in the water against large boulders.

“The current was so strong and the water was so deep I just could not get to her,” he said.

The water eventually dislodged Mrs Jones’ body.

“I swam and grabbed her and pulled her to the edge.

“By then I was so cold I didn’t have the strength to pull her onto the bank,” he said.

The court heard Dr Jones had already realised Mrs Jones was unlikely to be alive.

“She wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a pulse,” he said.

Dr Jones lodged Mrs Jones’ body against the bank of the pool and went to get help.

Assistant coroner for south and east Cumbria, Alan Sharp, read a statement from Lee Warren, who spotted Dr Jones by the roadside covered in blood from a head injury and soaking wet.

The statement said: “He told me his wife had fallen and I think she’s dead.”

Mr Warren rushed down to the stream, pulled Mrs Jones from the water and delivered CPR.

The emergency services were called and Mrs Jones was taken to Royal Lancaster Infirmary, before being pronounced dead.

A post-mortem discovered the cause of death had been traumatic brain injury and a fractured skull caused by hitting a large, sharp object.

Mr Sharp recorded a verdict of accidental death.

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