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Husband finds Hampstead housewife floating facedown in swimming pool with head injury

PUBLISHED: 16:31 28 February 2018 | UPDATED: 13:12 01 March 2018

St Pancras Coroner's Court (Picture: Nathalie Raffray)

St Pancras Coroner's Court (Picture: Nathalie Raffray)

Archant

A Hampstead housewife was found floating face down in a swimming pool with a head injury by her husband, an inquest has heard.

Elizabeth Beach, from Redington Gardens, Hampstead, was on holiday in Naples, Florida, with her husband David when she drowned on March 19 last year just after 12.45pm.

The 52-year-old mother-of-three was also found with a ‘blunt force’ injury to the side of her head, St Pancras Coroner’s Court heard today.

Senior coroner Mary Hassell told Mrs Beach’s grieving husband there was ‘not enough evidence’ to determine how she died.

She said it was “not likely, just a possibility” that she “could have slipped or tripped” or “had a fit or fainted”.

She added: “I can’t dispute the possibility another person pushed her in.”

Mr Beach told the court the couple had arrived four days earlier at their detached holiday home in Galleon Drive which was accessible by a side gate and backed onto a canal with houses on the other side.

Their children were due to join them the following week.

Visibly devastated, he said: “She was in pretty good shape, apart from thyroid problems, but she seemed to be getting better.”

The hedgefund manager said they’d woken early the day she died. “We were lounging around having breakfast, reading the papers on the iPad. We cycled down to the beach at around 8.30am and had a run on the beach and cycled back around an hour later. After that we were milling around inside and outside.”

During the morning he’d left her sitting in a deckchair near the swimming pool in the garden and when he came out 20 minutes later found her facedown in the water.

He said: “I was in the house and came out, I don’t know what time, and saw my wife just floating in the pool face down in the middle of the pool.”

Mr Beach told how he jumped into the pool and “half carried her half pulled her” to the side. It was only when he started to try and revive her that he noticed blood on the side of her head and ran to get a towel to stem the flow.

He then called emergency services and followed their advice on the phone’s loud speaker until they arrived.

The distraught father said: “She can swim, not a great swimmer but she can swim fine. She got more confident in the last couple of years. She didn’t like to go where she couldn’t stand.”

He added she typically only dipped in the pool if it was getting too hot. “She doesn’t spend too much time in the pool, she doesn’t like to get her hair wet,” he added.

Ms Hassell said two post-mortem results, from America and from England, put her cause of death as “drowning” and a “blunt force injury to the head”.

She asked Mr Beach if he knew of anyone who wished to harm his wife and he said no.

The inquest heard a thorough investigation of the scene had taken place in Florida.

The post-mortem report said: “After a scene investigation, a thorough forensic post-mortem examination and other relevant investigations undertaken, the manner of death was determined to be an accident.”

Recording an open verdict Ms Hassell expressed her sympathy for Mr Beach’s loss and for all those who loved her.

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