Woman, 56, ‘fell off bike and froze to death in cemetery’, on ‘one of the coldest nights of the year’

Andy Wells
·Freelance Writer
·2 min read
Jacqueline Parsons died after spending 17 hours in freezing temperatures, an inquest heard. (Reach)
Jacqueline Parsons died after spending 17 hours in freezing temperatures, an inquest heard. (Reach)

A woman froze to death in a cemetery after falling off her bike and injuring her leg, an inquest has heard.

Jacqueline Parsons, 56, died after spending 17 hours in freezing temperatures, despite two police officers being dispatched to search for her after she was found by a dog walker who raised the alarm.

Officers found her in Western Cemetery in Hull at 9.30am on Sunday, 28 October 2018 after police were called at 4.45pm the day before.

An inquest held at Hull Coroner’s Court found that Parsons had died as a result of hypothermia due to her temperature dropping below 35C on one of the coldest nights of the year.

This combined with the alcohol in her system – which was at 93mg per 100ml of blood – only just over the legal drink driving limit of 80mg per 100ml, and the injury to her ankle, were deemed as the cause of death by Dr Kirsten Hope.

The pathologist also testified that if Parsons had been found in time after the alarm was raised, her temperature could have been raised and she could have been saved.

Jacqueline Parsons  died after spending 17 hours in freezing temperatures. (Reach)
Jacqueline Parsons died after spending 17 hours in freezing temperatures. (Reach)

Parson's fiance, Malcolm Cuthbert, testified in court that he had conducted extensive research over the last two years since his partner's death and believed that the police were to blame for not finding her.

"It was the coldest day of the year when she went missing and the police search was at twilight, when they would have still been able to see her," he said.

"Had a full search taken place by police, then she would have been found.”

In his evidence, Cuthbert also added that he did not ring the police himself to raise the alarm when she did not come home, as she had gone out before and not come back, but said: “In hindsight, I made mistakes and could have done more, but I was acting in the context of the relationship."

Tributes to Jacqueline Parsons after she died at a cemetery in Hull. (Reach)
Tributes to Jacqueline Parsons after she died at a cemetery in Hull. (Reach)

The person who found Parsons in the cemetery heard her calling out for help and saw her on the floor with her bike propped up against a tree.

He says he tried to lift her but she was unable to stand as she had injured her ankle.

After being unable to help her, the man went back home to ring the police as he left his phone at home, and told them of how urgent the situation was.

When the call was made, the witness said that his view of Parsons was unobstructed and that it was still light.

The inquest continues.