South Yorkshire mum, 33, died after stairs fall

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a MUM died after she tripped on a duvet as she carried it downstairs, an inquest heard.

Fern White, a 33-year-old mum-of-one, was found at the bottom of the stairs by her partner Tony Elliot who had just popped out to the shops.

She lapsed into a coma and died four months later when life support was withdrawn after she suffered medical complications caused by the severe head injury sustained in the fall.

The Rotherham hearing was told the stairs at her home in Scarsdale Street, Dinnington, near Sheffield, were very steep and narrow with twists.

A pile of clothes for ironing had also been placed on the stairs, making them even narrower.

Miss White, who had a degree in forensic pathology and worked as a mortuary technician before she became a full-time mum, suffered from epilepsy which she controlled with medication.

Her partner said she had adapted well to motherhood and had only a handful of episodes where she passed out, but he did not class them as fits.

The inquest heard she had a drink problem but never showed any outward signs and had never fallen at home after drinking.

Her partner said he could smell alcohol on her breath when he found her but said he had ‘just hoped it was a seizure’.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Rotherham coroner Nicola Mundy said she was ‘far from convinced’ Miss White’s epilepsy had returned. There was no clear evidence she either had a seizure or had been drinking which affected her ability to walk.

“The steps were steep and narrow with a sharp turn,” said Ms Mundy. “They were difficult to negotiate under any circumstances but would have been made more difficult by carrying a duvet.

“There were also piles of clothes on the steps waiting to be ironed. This would have increased the hazard coming down.

“It is my view that it was a combination of all these factors which caused her to lose her footing while she was trying to descend while carrying the duvet in her arms.

“She fell and suffered a significant head injury which ultimately led to her death.”