A 70-YEAR-OLD woman was found drowned in the Leeds and Liverpool canal close to where she was born, married and where her parents were buried, an inquest heard.

The previous evening, at almost midnight, Sandrea Pilkington had been seen standing facing the canal.

Earlier the same day - Monday, February 17 - she had travelled by taxi from Ramsbottom, where she lived, to Skipton and then on to Kildwick where she arrived at about 6.40am.

Her movements were traced throughout the day on closed circuit television, Craven coroner Rob Turnbull was told.

She had visited Starkey Lane, where she was born, and Kildwick Church, where she was married.

Mrs Pilkington, who suffered mental health problems, had also spent time in the White Lion in the village, before she was seen sitting on a bench at Parson's seat near the church and later still standing near the edge of the canal.

Her body was pulled from the canal by police officers at about 7am on Tuesday, February 18.

Her two bags were found on the bench, still containing money, along with a bus pass and bank statements which enabled the police to identify her.

Officers, investigating her death, believed her body had floated "downstream" from where she might have entered the water.

Mr Turnbull was told by her three children, who attended the hearing, that their mother would never have drowned herself.

She had been frightened of water and if she had been planning suicide, she would have used an overdose of medication.

He said: "Before I can return a verdict that she took her own life, I must be satisfied she intended to do so beyond reasonable doubt.

"I can't be satisfied that is what happened. I can't rule out that she slipped and fell or any other factors, so I am recording an 'open conclusion'."