Blackburn teacher with arthritis froze to death in garden

A widowed teacher with arthritis froze to death in her garden after she fell and neighbours failed to respond to her cries for help, an inquest has heard.

Ann Waddington, 61, slipped and fell in her back garden in her nightdress late at night, but nobody living on her road who heard noises realised what it was.

Her body was found the next day on the lawn of her £87,000 semi-detached home in Blackburn, Lancashire, when one neighbour became concerned for her welfare.

Ann Waddington, 61, who lived in this semi-detached house (right) in Blackburn, slipped and fell in her back garden in her nightdress and was unable to get up due to her arthritis

Mrs Waddington had been unable to get up due to her arthritis, and a coroner said she ‘could have been saved’ if those who heard her ‘had further investigated’. 

Tests showed the mother-of-two died as a result of hypothermia with examinations showing she had been crawling around the ground in the hours before her death.

The teacher, who was a respected staff member at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Primary School in Blackburn, was also the equivalent of twice the drink driving limit.

An inquest heard the tragedy occurred on January 2 this year when Mrs Waddington had been remembering her late husband Bert who died on New Year’s Eve 2013.

She had taught at the school since 1999 but her condition meant she struggled at at times with her mobility, the inquest at Blackburn Enterprise Centre was told.

Her sister Marie Cole told the hearing yesterday: ‘Ann suffered from rheumatoid arthritis for many years and in the early stages it was very severe but eventually regular medication managed to help.

‘As long as she took the medication she was fine, but she was fairly restricted with her hands and didn’t have much upper body strength. I last saw her on January 1 when she came round to mine and she seemed fine.

‘She came round about 1.30pm and she was in good spirits and we talked about Christmas and we made…

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