Bexhill woman who died a week after hitting head was ‘one of the nicest people’

Valerie Rees's inquest was held at Muriel Matters House, in Hastings
Valerie Rees's inquest was held at Muriel Matters House, in Hastings

A 79-year-old woman died in hospital a week after falling in her garden in Bexhill and hitting her head, an inquest heard.

Valerie Rees, of Sussex Close, died at Conquest Hospital on September 22, a week after falling backwards and banging her head against a plant pot.

In a written statement read at her inquest, held in Hastings on Tuesday, her neighbour James Driscoll described Mrs Rees as one of the ‘nicest people you could come to meet’.

He added: “She will be missed by both me and my wife.”

The court heard that on the day of September 15, Mrs Rees was in her garden when she fell.

Her husband Kenneth sought help from Mr Driscoll who lived across the road.

Mrs Rees was taken to Conquest Hospital, the court heard, where a CT scan showed a subdural haematoma.

Dr Mark Whitehead, a consultant physician and gastroenterologist, told the court further CT scans on September 17 and 18 showed Mrs Rees’s condition was worsening and she would require a ‘huge operation’.

He told the court: “Nothing else could have been done.

“From my experience with brain injuries, there is little that can be done.

“Anything like that would require a huge operation.”

Returning a conclusion of accidental death, assistant coroner for East Sussex Fiona King addressed Mrs Rees’s family and said: “It is my conclusion that Valerie’s death was caused by an accident in the back garden.

“Had your mother not fallen quite so violently backwards, she probably would be with us today.”

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