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Cause of unexpected death of Lepton woman Beth Dale remains unknown

Open conclusion recorded on 36-year-old as pathologist says cause of death "unascertained"

More than five months after her death a coroner admitted she was no closer understanding what caused a 36-year-old Lepton woman’s unexpected death.

Beth Dale was found dead at her home in Sorbus Way at the end of October but the coroner at an inquest recorded an open conclusion after hearing a pathologist say the cause of death was “unascertained.”

The Coroners’ Court in Bradford heard that a concerned neighbour contacted police on October 29, 2015, after not having seen Ms Dale for a number of days.

Police officers attended the semi-detached property and forced entry.

They went upstairs and found her laid on a bed surrounded by a number of empty bottles of alcohol.

Police at Beth Dale's home in Sorbus Way, Lepton
Police at Beth Dale's home in Sorbus Way, Lepton

The inquest heard that Beth’s father Brian, a chartered accountant, had died when she was eight-years-old and his death and much later that of her mother Lynda had had a profound effect on her.

In a statement read out by Assistant Coroner Mary Burke, Beth’s sister, Helen Taylor, said: “After university she found it hard to find a job she liked.

“Beth gained a First Class honours degree and was an exceptional actress and singer.

“If she had more self-confidence she could have achieved more in this field. She was a superb auntie to my two children.

“She was married twice. She married Andrew, (Bailey), they were very happy but didn’t have children.

Beth Dale - found dead in her Lepton home
Beth Dale - found dead in her Lepton home

“She often kept her feelings hidden and it was hard for people to help her.

“She started counselling but never saw it through.

“She drank to stop the pain and to forget things. She had a drinking problem for at least eight years.”

She said Andrew and Beth were married for 10 years but he got divorced because he could no longer cope with her alcohol dependency.

The court heard that following her death police arrested her last boyfriend, Paul Dickinson, after two neighbours, Mary Phillips and Amanda Davis, independently claimed they had seen him at her property the day before her death.

Coroner's Court
Coroner's Court

However, Det Insp Richard Holmes, the senior detective who oversaw the investigation into her death, told the court that in police interview Mr Dickinson “denied any involvement whatsoever” in her death and mobile phone evidence and his parents’ corroboration of his account supported him.

Questioned by Mrs Burke, Mr Holmes said: “It’s my belief that there was no third party involvement.”

In her conclusion Mrs Burke said that although a toxicology report revealed very high levels of alcohol in the deceased’s body they were not not quite high enough to convince pathologist Richard Shepherd that this was the cause of her death.

She said: “I’m unable to answer how Beth came by her death.”



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