AN INQUEST was unable to determine the circumstances surrounding the death of a woman found in a canal.
Joyce Pitter, 32, was found by police divers in Huddersfield Broad Canal, near Red Doles Road, Fartown, on November 29, 2011.
A postmortem discovered Ms Pitter, of Blackhouse Road, Fartown, had died of a heart attack upon entering the cold water.
But an inquest, at Huddersfield Coroner’s Court yesterday, was unable to ascertain how Ms Pitter ended up in the canal.
Recording an open verdict coroner Peter Henry Straker apologised to Ms Pitter’s family, who were present in court yesterday.
Mr Straker said: “I’m sorry we haven’t been able to get to the bottom of this.”
Ms Pitter, an alcoholic, was last spotted sitting on a wall with a can of alcoholic drink outside a carpet shop in Fartown, on November 24.
She was reported missing by her mother the following day.
It is believed Ms Pitter may have been walking to her mother’s house, off Leeds Road.
The inquest heard Ms Pitter may have fallen off a footbridge crossing the canal near Red Doles Road where her body was found.
A medical condition caused Ms Pitter to be unsteady on her feet, especially in drink.
A post-mortem found a blood alcohol level equal to drinking 11 single measures of spirits at the time of death.
But Mr Straker said there was no evidence to determine what had happened to Ms Pitter in the days immediately before her death.
Mr Straker said: “There is only one verdict I can properly return and that is quite simply an open verdict; that is, we don’t know what happened...
“I can’t think of any verdict where we have anything like the evidence required to return for example, accidental death. We don’t know if she did anything by accident.
“The other is a narrative verdict stating what has happened but we don’t know what has happened.
Mr Straker added however: “It does not take away from the terrible tragedy that has befallen. I’m sorry we just don’t have the evidence.”