Southwater woman died after fall from balcony


A woman who told friends she was going to ‘jump off’ a building died in hospital after a fall, an inquest has heard.

Johanna Gillespie, 47, of Winnet Way, Southwater, died four days after falling from the balcony in Bishopric Court on August 26.

An inquest into her death was held in Horsham on Friday (December 11).

On the morning of the incident, Ms Gillespie, a chef, visited a pub in Horsham town centre with a male friend for breakfast, the inquest heard.

She drank a glass of wine while in the pub, and her friend returned to his flat in Bishopric Court.

Ms Gillespie later arrived at the home. The inquest was told that she appeared to be drunk and her speech was slurred.

According to a statement read by the coroner’s officer, she said: “I’ve had enough, I’m going up to the top floor to jump off.”

Ms Gillespie then left the flat - neither of the couple followed her as she had made similar statements previously, the inquest heard.

Ten minutes later, the woman left the property to look for Ms Gillespie and saw her lying on concrete below the flat.

Emergency services arrived at the scene and gave first aid, and Ms Gillespie was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

She sustained damage to her neck and a brain injury in the incident, and died on August 30.

The inquest heard that a man saw a person hanging from a balcony in Bishopric Court from the car park outside the John Lewis and Waitrose stores.

He said the person let go of the balcony with one hand before slowly letting go with the other.

It is believed she fell around 30ft.

Recording her conclusion, West Sussex coroner Penny Schofield said: “This was an accidental death. There is no evidence before me that she intended to take her own life.”

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