Widow (72) found dead after birthday night out in Burnley

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An elderly widow died following a night out in Burnley to celebrate her birthday.

Mrs Sylvia Smith (72) collapsed in the street outside her home following a night out in Burnley town centre on September 16th last year.

The widow had been out with her friend Mrs Patricia Buggey to celebrate what would have been her 73rd birthday when she was found collapsed with head injuries in Rydal Street by a neighbour around 3am.

An inquest at Burnley Coroner’s Court heard evidence from Mrs Buggey who said they would go out most Saturday nights in Colne Road, but once a month would also venture into Burnley town centre.

She said: “I was due to go on holiday the following week so we decided to go out to celebrate her birthday earlier. We had a meal at the Prairie and then went to the Talbot where we had a couple of brandy and sodas.

“We then went to the Coach and Horses which had a karaoke on. Sylvia got up to dance with a girl who twirled her round but she fell over. I don’t think she hurt herself but she seemed quite shaken up. She certainly didn’t bang her head.

“We stayed out quite late as it was around 3am when I got home. Sylvia seemed fine but I made sure our taxi dropped her outside her home. I lived a couple of streets away.”

Pathologist Dr Abdul Al-Dawoud, who conducted the post-mortem examination, said Mrs Smith had died from a subdural haemorrhage which “happened spontaneously” and caused her to collapse after she left the taxi.

“Her death was caused by this rather than by the head injury she suffered as a result of the fall. The fall did not contribute to her death in my opinion,” he said.

Det. Sgt Lukman Mulla, who helped to investigate the incident, said there was no evidence to suggest Mrs Smith had been the victim of a robbery or road accident as all her belongings were with her when she was found.

East Lancashire Deputy Coroner Mr Mark Williams said: “Having listened to the pathologist, it seems a bleed to the brain caused Mrs Smith’s death and not the injury from her fall. I therefore record a verdict of natural causes.”