POLICE do not believe the sudden death of 47-year-old Maguiresbridge reflexologist, Patricia Rice in at her home in Maguiresbridge in January this year was suspicious.
An inquest in Omagh into her death was told that the mother-of-two was found lying on her bed when police broke into her home in Bridge Park, Tattinderry, after a friend reported her concerns.
Evidence was also given that the self employed reflexologist had a blood alcohol level three times more than the legal driving limit, and that she suffered a fractured skull.
The cause of her death was recorded as having been due to a head injury.
Ms Rice’s body was discovered by a police officer in the upstairs bedroom of her home on the afternoon of Monday, January 27.
Senior Coroner John Leckey said he was ‘satisfied’ there was not a third party or sinister element involved in Ms Rice’s death.
A police constable told the inquest how he smashed a small pane of glass on the back door in order to reach a key to gain entrance to the home.
He said “all appeared normal” and the curtains were drawn. On finding the deceased lying on the bed, he noted that nothing was disturbed in the room, and there was no sign of alcohol or tablets.
Mr Leckey asked the police witness whether there was any evidence of third party involvement or a “murderous assault.”
The PSNI constable replied, “Absolutely not. The house was spick and span. There was nothing suspicious.”
Forensic pathologist, Dr James Lyness said Ms Rice had died from an injury consistent with her falling and striking the back of her head. She also had seven broken ribs but, there were “no defensive injuries to suggest an assault.”
Relatives of the deceased expressed surprise at what the coroner described as the, “considerable amount of alcohol” consumed by Ms Rice.
Her daughter, Mychealla told the inquest her mother was interested in holistic therapies and was “very active”, enjoying walking and yoga.
A client of the deceased said Ms Rice told her she had slipped in her back yard three days before she was found dead.
Kathleen Beggan added: “She said she had a nasty fall but didn’t say if she struck her head.”
Dr Lyness told the inquest there was “little doubt” the head injury was the cause of death but said it was “hard to determine’ the time between receiving a head injury and the time of death.
Expressing his sympathy to the family of Ms Rice, the coroner, Mr Leckey concluded: “The characteristics of the head injury are consistent with a fall.
“At the time, the deceased was intoxicated. There are some queries as to the circumstances of how the head injury occurred, but I am satisfied there was no third party involvement and not a sinister element involved.”
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