Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Intoxicated woman drowned in bath

An Irish woman who was enjoying a “pamper night” drowned in the bath after drinking too much wine, an inquest into her death heard yesterday.

Sheila Farrell (57) from Montenotte in Cork slipped into a stupor as a result of a “dangerously high” blood-alcohol level and sank down under the water.

The mother-of-three enjoyed a monthly “pamper night”, where she would use a face mask and take a bath, according to evidence given by her husband Ger Crosson at Cork City Coroner's Court yesterday.

Her body remained in the bath for around 24 hours before she was found by Mr Crosson, his step-daughter Fiona and Fiona's boyfriend on April 5, 2009.

Mr Crosson said his wife had been on medication for her blood pressure but otherwise she had been in general good health. He told the inquest that he had left the house to go to work early on Saturday, April 4, and last saw his wife alive when he said goodbye to her that morning.

After work he went to the gym, watched a football game and “had a bite to eat” before returning home at 10.30pm that night.

He placed his key in the lock, but could not open the door and called his wife's mobile number and the landline number before returning to his car, which was parked at the Montenotte Hotel.

He thought his wife was asleep so he decided to sleep in the car that night. The next morning Mr Crosson drove out to Sheep's Head in west Cork before returning to the home he shared with Ms Farrell at around 5pm. He was again unable to gain access to the house.

Mr Crosson then met Fiona, the dead woman's daughter, on Summerhill North, where she was cycling with her boyfriend.

All three went immediately to the house and used a screwdriver to smash through a window pane by the front door. They then opened the latch from the inside.

Mr Crosson went upstairs to check the bedroom while Fiona remained downstairs, where she saw that the door to the main bathroom was ajar. “I knew that she was in there but I could not go in,” Fiona said.

Mr Crosson came downstairs and entered the bathroom where he found his wife submerged in water and “immediately started screaming”, according to Fiona.

She calmed her mother's husband while her boyfriend called the emergency services.

In her post mortem report, Assistant State Pathologist Margaret Bolster said that Sheila Farrell had slipped into a stupor while she was in the bath and that alcohol consumption had been a “major factor in the case”.

The deceased woman had a blood alcohol level of 319mg, which was well into dangerous levels, according to Dr Bolster, who said that anything over 300mg was dangerously high.

Dr Myra Cullinane returned a verdict of death by misadventure and extended her sympathies to the family, who had been through “a very stressful investigation process” following the death.

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