Inquest: Husband tells of moment his wife died in river fall

Sue Jones

Sue Jones

First published in News The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A WIDOWER has relived the moments he tried to desperately save his wife who had fallen into a raging waterfall.

Malcolm Jones was walking with his wife, Sue, 60, and their dog, near their home in Satterthwaite when she slipped and fell to her death at Force Forge on January 11.

Mr Jones plunged into freezing water in an attempt to try to rescue his wife but struggled to reach her, an inquest heard.

The retired GP gave evidence at Barrow Town Hall on Tuesday.

“It was a nice morning but it had been raining heavily overnight. It was a walk we had done many, many times. It is quite spectacular round there.

“We were walking where there is a large series of waterfalls and right at the end there is a narrow gauge through it, that is where we always go,” he told the hearing.

The mother-of-two was walking 20 yards behind her husband when he suddenly heard a ‘short scream’.

After realising his wife had been washed down into the rapids, he ran down to try to save her. He said: “I could see her body had got stuck on some big boulders and I could not get to her because the current was so strong.

“I could not do anything, I could not get to her.”

After struggling in the freezing water for 20 minutes, Mr Jones managed to get to his wife and secure her upwards in the pool but she did not have a pulse; he then went to find help.

“I could not get her out of the water, I did not have the strength,” Mr Jones said.

A witness statement from Lee Warren was read out during the inquest. He was travelling to Grizedale Forest to go mountain biking with a friend when he spotted Mr Jones on the side of the road. He described seeing blood on Mr Jones’ face and recalled how he was shaking so much he struggled to speak.

Mr Warren said: “We asked him what happened, he said his wife had fallen and he thought she was dead.”

Mr Warren went to try to help Mrs Jones, managing to get her out of the water but again confirmed that she had no pulse.

Pathology evidence was read out to the court, confirming the cause of death was ‘traumatic brain injury caused by a fall’.

South and East Cumbria deputy coroner Alan Sharp recorded a verdict of accidental death.

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