Woman froze to death in cemetery after falling off bike but was missed by police
A Hull woman froze to death in a cemetery after falling off her bike and injuring her leg, an inquest has heard.
Jacqueline Parsons, 56, died after spending 17 hours in freezing temperatures, despite two police officers being dispatched to search for her after she was found by a dog walker who raised the alarm.
Officers found her in Western Cemetery off Chanterlands Avenue at 9.30am on Sunday, October 28, 2018 after police were called at 4.45pm the day before, Hull Live reports.
An inquest held at Hull Coroner's Court found that Miss Parsons had died as a result of hypothermia due to her temperature dropping below 35C on one of the coldest nights of the year.
This, combined with alcohol in her system and the injury to her ankle, was deemed as the cause of death by Dr Kirsten Hope.
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The pathologist also testified that if Miss Parsons had been found in time after the alarm was raised, her temperature could have been raised and she could have been saved.
Evidence was given by Miss Parson's fiancé, Malcolm Cuthbert, who said she'd gone out on Saturday at around 9am for a "keep fit" bike ride, and how he had become concerned after she didn't come home later in the afternoon.
"The later it got, the more I thought she was out on a drinking session [because she had been known to go out drinking before] and I presumed that she was drunk somewhere," he said.
Mr Cuthbert went for a drive around the nearby streets but found no sign of her or her bike.
"It was raining heavily and I was worried," he said. "I expected her to return the next day and left the door open [as she had no key] and slept on the sofa.
"On Sunday morning I expected her to return and was tired of waiting, but then saw on Hull Live that a female in her 50s had been found in the cemetery and had a gut feeling it was her.
"I phoned the police and they arrived later to tell me she was dead and I just broke down."
Mr Cuthbert then testified in court that he had conducted extensive research over the last two years since his partner's death and believed that the police were to blame for not finding her.
"It was the coldest day of the year when she went missing and the police search was at twilight, when they would have still been able to see her," he said.
"Had a full search taken place by police, then she would have been found.
"My conclusion after two years of visiting the scene, knowing Jacquie and doing my own research leads very clearly to the fact that Jacquie was let down, as had she been found soon enough, she would still be here today."
Mr Cuthbert added that he made a mistake in not ringing the police himself to raise the alarm when Miss Parsons did not come home, but said he was "acting in the context of the relationship".
The 63-year-old witness who found Miss Parsons in the cemetery told of how he heard her calling out for help and saw her on the ground with her bike propped up against a tree.
He says he tried to lift her but she was unable to stand as she had injured her ankle, so he left to see if he could find police officers in the area but failed to locate any.
He then called police back at home 15 minutes after finding Miss Parsons and said that it was urgent officers attended soon as the cemetery gates would soon be locked.
When the call was made, the witness said that his view of the woman was unobstructed and that it was still light.
The court also heard that Miss Parsons spent 24 years working as a purchase ledger clerk at Van Leer before it became Greif. When the company left Hull, Miss Parsons was made redundant and she went on to work in other roles.
The couple never had any children but Miss Parsons, who was born in Richmond, Surrey, before moving to Hull with her family aged nine, adored her two chihuahuas who she referred to as "her babies".
The inquest continues on Thursday.
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