Stairs tumble ends in death

Urban Bar & Lounge, Cleveland Street, Doncaster.
Urban Bar & Lounge, Cleveland Street, Doncaster.

A woman seriously injured in a fall down the stairs at home cleared her partner of any blame before she died, after he was placed under suspicion, a Doncaster inquest was told.

Detectives arrested Pauline Needham’s long-term partner, Kevin Orton, but the investigation was dropped when she gave a statement exonerating him.

Mrs Needham, aged 64, admitted she had drunk up to 11 pints of lager on the day of the accident and was adamant Mr Orton had not been violent towards her that night.

Shortly after making the statement, and within two days of her release from hospital, she collapsed and died from a deep vein thrombosis.

Mrs Needham, a retired kitchen maid, suffered a severe head injury when she fell down the stairs at her home in Great North Road, Woodlands, last November.

She was treated in intensive care before rehabilitation and was discharged on December 24 to spend Christmas with her family but on Boxing Day collapsed at her daughter’s home in Sandford Road, Balby.

Her reduced mobility caused by the fall led to the DVT, a pathologist stated.

After the fall Mr Orton was arrested on suspicion of assault but Det Con Laura Jones said a forensic examination of the staircase showed ‘nothing to suggest she had been pushed down the stairs’.

The inquest heard the couple had spent most of the day drinking in the Urban bar in Cleveland Street.

Mrs Needham told police: “I had had a lot to drink, probably 10 or 11 pints of lager. I slipped down a few stairs, I fell and hit my head on the radiator. I can say that at no time did Kevin hit me, push me or assault me in any way.”

Coroner Nicola Mundy said it was her view that Mrs Needham’s death was an accident.