'Young at heart' woman, 97, hung herself
A elderly woman hanged herself a month before her 98th birthday after being diagnosed with cancer, an inquest heard.
Frail Edith Bray tied a dressing gown chord around her neck and attached the other end to a contraption she used to get in and out of bed.
She was found dead in her remote country cottage in Lostwithiel, Cornwall, on Remembrance Sunday last year, a day after telling a neighbour: "I could be dead tomorrow."
An inquest in Truro heard Mrs Bray, a mother-of-one, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2011 and was worried she would no longer be able to get about.
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Friends of the retired clerk described her as a caring and active woman who loved animals and would walk up to two and a half miles a day.
In a statement read out in court, neighbour Stephen Wells described visiting Mrs Bray the day before she was found.
He said: "I went over to fill up the bird feeder and she asked me to get two books from the lounge because the vicar was coming round on Sunday. I did think it was a bit strange because it was Remembrance Sunday and I thought he would be busy."
Toxicology reports showed Mrs Bray had alcohol in her bloodstream at a concentration of one and a half times the legal drink-drive limit. Returning a verdict of suicide Dr Elizabeth Carlyon, Coroner for Cornwall, said: "I accept the pathologist's evidence that the cause of death was asphyxia caused by hanging."
Mrs Bray's close friend and carer Sarah Whitehead said afterwards: "She was a very strong-willed and caring woman. She always said she wanted to live to 100 and to die in her home. She was so young at heart."