AN elderly woman who had been having difficulties with her balance was found at the bottom of her stairs after a fall, an inquest heard.

Valerie Watson, 67, had probably been reading in an upstairs room at her home in Barley before the fall occurred, Burnley Coroner’s Court was told.

Her daughter Sarah Pengelly had been watching television downstairs and only realised something was wrong when she heard a ‘thud’ at the bottom of the stairs, the court heard.

Ms Pengelly alerted her father, who had been listening to the radio on headphones, and the emergency services were called to the property at Whitehough Cottages, Barley.

In a statement Ms Pengelly said she assumed her mother had come downstairs to make a cup of coffee.

She also told the inquest that she was known to be unsteady on her feet.

The medical evidence showed that the extent of the spinal injury suffered by Mrs Watson, as a result of the fall, was not survivable.

Recording an accidental verdict, East Lancashire assistant coroner Mark Williams said: “Whether she had lost her footing, or lost her balance, she would have been unconscious from the point of the fall.”