Search

Mother found lawyer son’s lifeless body beneath her Camden Town balcony

08:00 01 August 2014

William Chapman-Purchas fell from five storeys up at the Lockhouse flats in Oval Road, Camden Town. Picture: Nigel Sutton

William Chapman-Purchas fell from five storeys up at the Lockhouse flats in Oval Road, Camden Town. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

A mother discovered the lifeless body of her lawyer son after he fell from her fifth-storey balcony, an inquest heard.

Fiona Ligonnet found her son William Chapman-Purchas on the ground outside her flat in Oval Road, Camden Town, where he had been staying on the living room sofa.

The 42-year-old plunged to his death overnight, sometime before about 7am on April 25, St Pancras Coroner’s Court heard on Monday.

Ms Ligonnet looked over the balcony after realising he was not in the flat when she woke up – yet the front door was chained from the inside.

“The sliding doors to the balcony were slightly open,” she told the inquest.

“I realised at that point there was no way out of the flat except over the balcony.

“I could not bring myself to look over the edge at first so I want back to my bedroom.

“Then I went back and looked over and there was William on the ground.”

Ms Ligonnet called 999 before rushing down the stairs.

She continued: “I touched him and he was stone cold and I knew he was dead – nobody could have survived that fall.”

The inquest heard that Mr Chapman-Puchas, a solicitor and property developer, was a devoted husband and father to his four-year-old son at their home in Edinburgh.

He had been staying with his mother for about a month due to difficulties with his recovery from surgery undertaken in London on his right arm, which was causing him intense pain following a gardening accident.

Ms Ligonnet added: “He was a very kind, caring person and that’s what makes his death all the harder to comprehend.”

She suggested during the inquest that the high-strength medication he had been given to deal with his extreme pain, oxycodone and amitriptyline, may have caused disorientation, citing reports on the internet of such side-effects.

Senior coroner Mary Hassell returned an “open determination” – the new name for an open verdict – saying she had “no idea” why he left the balcony.

While he was in severe pain, she did not find it “very likely” that he jumped on purpose, saying she could not see any evidence that he wanted to take his life.

She also considered sleepwalking and the effects of the drugs, but said: “All of these are guesses – I simply don’t know how it is that he came to leave that balcony.

“The only honest thing for me to do is to make an open determination, which says ‘I don’t know’.”

The cause of death was given as multiple injuries including a severe head injury.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

12:58
Nurul Islam celebrates at his Belsize Park kiosk with customers and Ham&High reporter Emily Banks, right.       Picture: Polly Hancock

The vendor who runs the Belsize Park newspaper kiosk today thanked his customers for pressuring Camden Council into doing a u-turn over the rent hike which threatened his business.

11:17
Gabriella with mum Nazanin on her first birthday

A distraught father whose daughter faces her second birthday forced apart from her parents while detained in Iran has urged children around the world to send her a birthday card.

Victor in Delhi

A ‘smart and popular’ 22-year-old who died in a motorbike crash has been remembered at his former school.

Yesterday, 18:09
A pole will be located at the end of Nassington  Road by the entrance to Hampstead Heath

New plans for an Orthodox Jewish boundary across Camden have been submitted.

Yesterday, 15:34
The mystery girl was found wandering in  the evening in Daleham Gardens

Police are trying to trace an 11-year-old girl who was discovered wandering in the street in her pyjamas saying she had run away from home.

Yesterday, 15:31
Service users at the Highgate Day Centre were left feeling

Service users at a mental health day centre in Camden were “heartbroken” after hundreds of pieces of artwork produced during therapeutic art classes were thrown out with the rubbish.

Yesterday, 12:39
Neighbours are

Neighbours in Gospel Oak say they are “still friends” after publicly airing their difference of opinion over the Brexit question.

Yesterday, 12:05
An artist's impression of the cycling superhighway in Avenue Road

Camden Council has called on Transport for London (TfL) to conduct further traffic modelling for the propsed Cycle-Superhighway (CS11) scheme to take account of the likely impact of High Speed Rail (HS2).

PROMOTED CONTENT

There are no rules when it comes to buying studio pottery beyond choosing what you love

With The Great Pottery Throwdown captivating viewers across the nation, pottery courses at capacity, and hipsters snapping up vintage studio pieces to display their succulents in and post on Instagram, studio pottery and ceramics are definitely having a moment.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe