Carmel Jones died in fall at home, inquest hears

Much-loved teacher Carmel Jones fell to her death because she was trying to take off her clothes while going upstairs at the same time, an inquest heard.

Carmel, 62, was found by her son David at the bottom of her stairs at her home in Milton Road, Cheltenham.

The inquest in Gloucester was told Mrs Jones, an inspirational teacher at Chosen Hill School in Churchdown, had been drinking.

The alcohol level in her blood was more than twice the limit for a driver. She had 187mgs of alcohol in 100mls of blood – the driving limit is 80mgs.

PC Steve Martin of Cheltenham police station said in a written statement that Mrs Jones’ son went to her house on September 10 this year and could not raise her.

Her car was in the driveway.

He got into the house through an open upstairs window and contacted the emergency services when he found her at the foot of the stairs.

Senior coroner for Gloucestershire, Katy Skerrett, who recorded a verdict of alcohol-related death, said: “A toxicology report discovered that the deceased was well over the legal drink-drive alcohol level and this is consistent with intoxication.

“A post-mortem found no fractures or injuries and it is likely that she fell down the stairs while intoxicated, banged the back of her head, suffered concussion, lost consciousness and died of postural asphyxia. She had consumed a significant quantity of alcohol and was undressing while climbing the stairs.”
Mrs Jones had taught at Chosen Hill School in Churchdown for 29 years.

During her time there, she was senior leader and member of the PE department. Tributes poured in to her shortly after her death, with pupils calling her an “incredible lady”.

Pupils Matt Youngs, Issy Howell, Tim Rogers, Joe Topping, Daisy Hewitt and Honi Turnbull, all part of the school’s head boy and girl team, paid their condolences at the time.

 They wrote: “She was a lady with all the attributes you could possibly ask for in a teacher and a person, however one shone through – her passion.

“Chosen Hill was in her bones.

 “If there is any comfort we take, it has to be that she absolutely loved her life and that never changed as long as Chosen Hill was part of it.

“We’d like to take this moment to give our gratitude to Mrs Jones along with our condolences to all family and friends.”

 A spokesman for the school said: “Carmel Jones inspired generations of students with endless energy and enthusiasm.

“This was both on the netball court and leading the singing for the rugby boys.

“Carmel was not just a PE teacher at Chosen Hill School, she was a friend, confidente, mentor and her passion for life inspired every student and member of staff.

“To quote one of our former students ‘a light has gone out at Chosen Hill, especially in the PE department’.

 “She was the spirit at Chosen Hill and simply the best.”