An inquest was held into the death of Jay Loren Barrington,31, at Preston Coroner’s Court yesterday. She was injured after a 30ft fall from her home on the third storey of a block of flats on Station Road, Wesham.
The Area Coroner for Lancashire, Chris Long, concluded an open verdict after a lengthy inquest which detailed events preceding Jay’s fall, her many weeks in intensive care in Royal Preston Hospital and some of Jay’s past medical history.
Jay sustained multiple injuires in the fall which happened in the early hours of the morning on December 31, 2020.and later developed sepsis, pneumonia and suffered multiple organ failure. She died on February 12, 2021 at the Royal Preston Hospital.
After the inquest Jay’s mother Beverley paid tribute to her daughter with a message saying: “Jay lived for her children and family. She was a much loved mum, daughter and big sister. She was the kindest, most caring friend anyone could wish for, with the biggest heart. She will forever be loved and missed all the more.”
In the three and a half hour hearing the court was told that a neighbour and nearby railway workers had heard an argument between Jay and her boyfriend late at night. One of the railway workers had said that there had been a female screaming and there had been yelling. But then things had quietened down. A second railway worker said said there had been “a fearful scream” and an argument which went on for about 10 minutes.
Jay’s boyfriend Michael Young described Jay, who was born in Blackpool, as “ lovely” and said “I can’t fault her”. He said she had drunk two bottles of cider during the evening and there had been an argument. He had begun a relationship with Jay around the start of May 2020. He said: “It was good at the beginning, a few ups and downs, a few arguments, but every relationship does”.
He said he had witnessed Jay self-harming but only on a couple of occasions. Once he called an ambulance when she had cut herself.
At one point Jay had said she was leaving the flat but he brought her back in. She became angry and then calmed down. He said after they had been arguing for 10 or 15 minutes he had gone to another room.
Another witness, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had said he had seen Jay sitting on a kitchen counter and he had passed on a message to Michael from Jay that she said “bye”.
On hearing this Michael said he went to check the door which was shut and he then went into the kitchen where the window was wide open.
Paramedics said Jay confirmed she had jumped out of the window. The court heard medical evidence that Jay’s injuries had been unsurvivable and her injuries were consistent with a fall from a height.
The coroner said that said it could not be concluded on the balance of probablility that Jay intended to end her life, or that she intended to jump out of the window or that it was was purely an accident. He said: “Jay was found on the ground beneath her third floor flat. Jay probably fell from the window in her kitchen. She was taken to hospital where multiple injuries were diagnosed.”
He said he was satisfied no third party was involved in the fall. The balance of probability was that Jay climbed onto the work surface and approached the window sill. He said it was also possible Jay climbed on the window sill ”as a cry for help or to express her anger and that tragically in doing that she fell. It’s also possible that Jay climbed on the window (sill) and never had another intention and it was a tragic accident.”
The court heard evidence that Jay, had a history of self harming dating back to her teenage years and she had also once been found by a motorway bridge with cuts. She had last been seen by mental health services on July 20, 2020, when she was deemed to have improved and she was going to be discharged. The discharge never happened. Subsequently she self-harmed but had not had another case review.
Mr Long said it was not possible to know if she had had another assessment by mental health services whether there would have been a diffferent outcome.
Dr Zoe Nowell, Principal Psychologist with Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Trust, said Jay had been diagnosed with an emotionally unstable personality disorder and had also suffered post-natal depression. Dr Nowell said she believed there should have been a review of Jay’s case after July 2020. Procedures have now been changed and staffing improved.
Mr Long said he was satisfied the Health Trust had now taken steps to address the lessons from the case regarding the lack of follow up care.
Police were contacted on January 1st by Jay’s mother. Detective Sgt Lee Kelly said he believed there had been no third party involvement.
Jay’s mum made several queries about her daughter’s care and police checks on her daughter’s flat. In particular she asked would it have been possible for her daughter who weighed 17 stone and was 22 inches wide to have got through the 14 inch window. She also queried conflicting reports that there had been blood on a staircase and that police had not found any evidence of blood. She also queried the hospital’s response to her request that there would not be a Do Not Resuscitate instruction in the event her daughter’s condition deteriorated further. She said she appreciated the Trust ahd learned lessons from her daughter’s case.