Mystery remains over Chirk pensioner's death at canal

Published date: 17 May 2017 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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The Poachers Pocket pub near Poachers Pocket pub near where body was found in the canal (Picture: Google) 

A pensioner drowned after walking on one of her favourite paths on New Year’s Day, an inquest heard on Tuesday.

But what caused 89-year-old widow Glenys Thomas to fall into the Llangollen Canal remained a mystery after the hearing in Ruthin.

The body of the former factory worker was found in the canal at Gledrid, near the Poacher’s Pocket pub, on New Year’s Day, just a short while after her son Mike Thomas had reported her missing from her home about half-a-mile away in Chirk.

Mr Thomas, from Gresford, told the inquest that his mother had a mastectomy in 2001 and in August, 2016, the cancer returned. When told of the diagnosis, however, she was “quite chipper” and seemed to accept the fact.

In the months which followed she became increasingly confused and paranoid, becoming concerned about trivial matters, the hearing at Ruthin was told.

She spent Christmas with Mr Thomas and his family and after being referred by her GP had an assessment by a community psychiatric nurse on December 30, the aim being that she should continue to live as independently as possible with support.

Mr Thomas said his mother was quite mobile and refused to use a walking aid. “She didn’t want anything which made her look old,” he said.

The pensioner often walked her dogs along the canal despite there being quite a steep section of path.

Mr Thomas said he was not unduly worried at first when she did not answer her phone on the morning of January 1 but raised the alarm after going to her house and finding the door unlocked.

John Gittins, coroner for North Wales East and Central, said Mrs Thomas had last been seen by resident Gareth Hughes the previous evening walking in the dark in Station Road, Chirk.

A post-mortem examination revealed the cause of death as drowning. Mrs Thomas was a non-swimmer.

Recording a conclusion of accidental death, the coroner said there was no indication of any deliberate act and Mr Thomas said she had never hinted at suicide.

“We cannot know whether she went for a walk or whether it was part of her cognitive decline,” said Mr Gittins.

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