A CHAMPION show jumper who battled anorexia died from natural causes, an inquest heard.

Laura Anne Ferguson, 26, was found dead in her bedroom by her father, Joe, on September 23 last year.

He told Burnley Coroner’s Court yesterday that his daughter had ‘got over’ her eating disorder, which was prompted by the sudden death of her mother, Anne, on Christmas Day in 2008.


Miss Ferguson, of Norfolk Avenue, Burnley, worked as a carer and represented England at pony jumping, winning a gold medal at a competition in Northern Ireland.

Her father told East Lancashire coroner Richard Taylor: “Laura was very close to her mother and was very significantly affected by that.

“For the next few months she wasn’t eating properly. She tried to disguise it with baggy clothes.”

Miss Ferguson, a former pupil at Ivy Bank High School, was referred by her GP to Pendle House in Nelson, and The Priory in Bury, for treatment. Mr Ferguson, who described his daughter as ‘fit and active’, said: “She spent some time there, but when she came out her appetite had returned. She had responded to treatment.

“She seemed absolutely fine and was quite happy with herself. She had everything to look forward to. We had booked a holiday to Egypt in September.”

Mr Ferguson said Laura, a community care worker, had complained of a headache when she came home from work on September 22. He said he assumed she was asleep when he checked her room at 8am the next day, but returned from some errands at midday to find her ‘unresponsive’.

Pathologist Dr Abdul Al-Dawoud, who carried out a port-mortem examination, said the ‘most likely’ cause of death was an inflammation of the heart called myocarditis, commonly brought on by viral infections.

Concluding that Miss Ferguson had died of natural causes, Mr Taylor said: “There was a problem with her heart. From what the doctor has told me, it cannot be anything else.”