Woman kicked by fellow Seaford patient, inquest heard

Eastbourne Magistrates' Court
Eastbourne Magistrates' Court

A 91-year-old woman who was kicked in the stomach by a fellow dementia patient at a Seaford nursing home died two days later.

Elizabeth Collins was living in Hillersden Court Care Home in College Road when she was assaulted by the man in his eighties.

She was taken to Eastbourne DGH where she later died.

An inquest into her death was held by East Sussex coroner Alan Craze on Thursday November 27, who said he needed to decide whether the assault had caused her death.

Kirsty Gray, a care assistant at Hillersden Court, witnessed the assault.

Ms Gray told Mr Craze Mrs Collins could be a difficult woman.

She said: “She wanted to phone her husband but it was getting late so I said maybe we could get some rest and call in the morning.

“She came in to the dining room and asked another service user where the phone was.

“He didn’t understand the question and said he didn’t know what she was talking about.

“Betty liked a straightforward answer so she said ‘shut up’ and he then lashed out.

“He lifted up his foot and kicked her in the stomach.

“He wasn’t a very strong man but this caused Betty to fall backwards.”

Mrs Collins, who was already in very poor health, was complaining of pain in her hip and was sent to hospital for an x-ray.

None of the DGH medics found any sign of injury from the assault but her general health deteriorated and she died on March 12.

Pathologist Dr Andrew Rainey, who carried out the post mortem examination, said her death was caused by circulatory and heart problems but gave the fall as a contributing factor.

Acting detective inspector Daniel Dugan said the incident amounted to actual bodily harm but was not taken further because of the man’s poor health.

Mr Craze said he had to consider whether the shock and distress of the incident and being admitted to hospital played a part in her death.

Mr Craze said: “On a balance of probabilities, without much confidence because it could have gone either way, I will record a conclusion of natural causes.”