A “well-liked” woman died after she fell into her pond while feeding her fish, an inquest has heard.
Margaret Clark, 76, of Silver Street, Great Barford, was found by close friend Jonathan Jones on September 2 last year when he dropped by to visit her.
Jonathan, of Norse Road, Bedford, told Bedford Coroner’s Court on Tuesday, that he had dropped in on Margaret to pick up a paper she had bought and to see if she was okay.
He said: “At around 8.50am I unlocked the garden gate and went in through the house through the back entrance. I went into the house calling for her, I looked in the every room but couldn’t see her.
“I saw the oven on and thought she was cooking breakfast for herself, so I assumed she was in the garden. I went outside and as I turned round I saw her lying in the pond.”
A post mortem and toxicology reports revealed that Margaret, who was a widow and lived on her own, had a significant level of alcohol in her system that could have affected her motor functions.
Her cause of death was listed as immersion.
Evidence was also heard from Doctor Kwame Ade-Poku who told the court that there was nothing to suggest why Margaret would suddenly collapse.
Sergeant Darren Cox, who was the acting inspector from that day, also gave evidence. He said the police were confident that no foul play had occurred the incident was not treated as suspicious.
He said: “I checked every room for any evidence of foul play but didn’t find anything.”
Coroner Bob Amos concluded that Margaret died as a result of a fall into a garden pond, with alcohol most likely being a contributory factor.
He recorded a verdict of accidental death.
After the inquest Jonathan told the Times & Citizen/Biggleswade Chronicle: “She was a very private person, she liked her own company. She was well-liked and social in the village.
“My family had known her a long time and I got to know her after I did some work for her. I kept my motorbike in her garage and often went round to visit her, she liked the company.”