Mother-of-two died af­ter fall down stairs at home

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by Sam Len­non slen­non@thek­m­group.co.uk

PO­LICE who ar­rested a man over the sus­pected mur­der of his wife re­leased him af­ter ac­cept­ing she died ac­ci­den­tally.

A coroner has recorded an open ver­dict, be­liev­ing she did not have all the an­swers sur­round­ing the death.

Mar­garet Penny died af­ter fall­ing down stairs at their home in Rec­tory Walk, Ham­street, on Jan­uary 25, an in­quest heard last Thurs­day .

Det Ch Insp Michael Atkin­son told the hear­ing that there had been an ex­ten­sive in­ves­ti­ga­tion and said: “Mrs Penny’s death arose from a tragic ac­ci­dent. There was no ev­i­dence that Mr Penny caused fa­tal in­juries to his wife.”

Coroner Rachel Red­man said: “I am not en­tirely sat­is­fied. I still feel I have some ques­tions that can­not be an­swered.”

Paramedics alerted po­lice af­ter find­ing marks on her neck and Mr Penny was ar­rested.

He ex­plained that he had held her around the neck and shoul­ders to stop her fall, but ended up tum­bling with her.

Po­lice had ar­rested him on sus­pi­cion of mur­der but af­ter an ex­ten­sive in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­cluded he was not re­spon­si­ble.

Mrs Penny, 40, died at the William Har­vey Hospi­tal on Jan­uary 27, two days af­ter the fall.

DCI Atkin­son, of Kent Po­lice’s ma­jor crime depart­ment, said that emer­gency ser­vices had been called at 9.35pm on Jan­uary 25.

He said that am­bu­lance staff had told po­lice of fin­ger­marks on Mrs Penny’s neck and it was found Mr Penny was also in­jured.

Paul and Mar­garet Penny

DCI Atkin­son said that Mr Penny was in­ter­viewed 13 times over the next few days and state­ments were taken from a to­tal of 48 fam­ily and friends.

The scene was also ex­am­ined and a ruler, which Mr Penny said his wife had tripped over, was found on the stairs along with a spirit level and other DIY items.

DCI Atkin­son said po­lice ac­cepted the find­ing from pathol­o­gist Dr David Rouse that Mrs Penny had suf­fered in­juries con­sis­tent with a fall down a flight of stairs.

He said in the end sus­pi­cious cir­cum­stances were ex­cluded and added: “There was no ev­i­dence to sug­gest that Paul had killed her.”

A post-mortem ex­am­i­na­tion found that Mrs Penny’s cause of death was ir­re­versible cere­bral hy­poxia, which refers to de­pri­va­tion of oxy­gen to the brain, stem­ming from a head in­jury.

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