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