Tragic death of talented showjumper (26): inquest

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A young woman who developed an eating disorder following the sudden death of her mother on Christmas Day was found dead in bed by her devastated father.

Talented showjumper Laura Ferguson (26) had won her battle with anorexia and started eating again when she died at home in Norfolk Avenue, Burnley, on September 23rd.

An inquest at Burnley Coroner’s Court heard how the former Ivy Bank High pupil had been badly affected by her mother Anne’s shock death on Christmas Day, 2008, from a heart attack.

Her tearful father Joe told the inquest: “Laura was very close to her mum and she was badly affected by her death.

“I think this triggered her eating problems, which she used to disguise by wearing baggy clothes.

“She was referred to eating disorder specialists in Nelson and then at The Priory in Bury, and she seemed to improve.

“Laura was eating well again and we had booked a holiday to Egypt which she was excited about. She had been buying new clothes for the holiday.”

Mr Ferguson added that his daughter was fit and healthy, did not smoke or drink, and was a talented showjumper.

She helped to livery horses, which was a family hobby. Her job as a community carer also ensured she was very active.

However, Mr Ferguson revealed that on the night before she died, Laura had complained of a headache.

He discovered her unresponsive the following morning with the television still on in her bedroom.

Pathologist Dr Abdul Al-Dawoud, who conducted the post-mortem examination, gave the cause of death as miocarditis, an inflammation of the heart which he said was not uncommon.

The pathologist said he found “minute changes” in her heart, which may have been caused by a viral infection.

East Lancashire Coroner Mr Richard Taylor recorded a conclusion of natural causes.