Ex-model ‘was drunk when she had fatal fall’
7:24am Friday 22nd March 2013 in Local
A FORMER model was more than five times over the drink-drive limit when she fell down the stairs, fractured her skull and died, an inquest heard.
Isobel Porter, aged 63, was pronounced dead at her home in Gorton Street, Farnworth, at 5am on November 2.
Her 77-year-old partner Thomas Smith, who was initially arrested on suspicion of her murder but later released without charge, told Bolton Coroner’s Court that he found Mrs Porter “crumpled” at the bottom of the stairs with blood coming from her nose, mouth and head.
The court heard Mrs Porter was an alcoholic and would drink half a bottle of whisky every day, secretly drinking in her bedroom and hiding the bottles.
The former model and beauty pageant entrant, who had three sons, began drinking after her husband died 11 years earlier.
She met Mr Smith on holiday in the Costa Brava in 2008 and the pair were planning to get married and move to Northern Ireland together.
Mr Porter told the court he had twice tried to persuade his wife to get help for her alcoholism but she had refused.
Mr Smith said that on the night before she died, Mrs Porter went to bed at about 8pm and he fell asleep on the sofa downstairs.
When he awoke after 4am, he discovered Mrs Porter on the floor at the bottom of the stairs.
He dragged her into the lounge and followed paramedics’ instructions over the phone to administer first aid.
But when paramedics arrived at 4.34am, Mrs Porter was pronounced dead.
Mr Smith was initially arrested because a clothes maiden had been pushed over a pool of blood at the bottom of the stairs concealing it from forensics, and officers did not believe his story.
But post mortem tests revealed that Mrs Porter had fallen down the stairs and Mr Smith was released.
Tests also revealed that Mrs Porter had enough alcohol in her system to kill her as she was five and a quarter times over the drink-drive limit.
Assistant deputy coroner Peter Watson recorded a narrative verdict and said: “Isobel’s death was a result of a head injury sustained during the course of an accidental fall and the depressant effects of severe intoxication.”