Death of Eastbourne woman remains a mystery

The death of a woman after an argument in an Eastbourne street remains a mystery, an inquest has heard.

Thursday, 16th March 2017, 8:31 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:07 am

Neighbours heard an altercation between 36-year-old Emma Crowhurst and a man in the street late on Sunday April 26 2015 after she had gone out to find her cats.

Minutes later she was found with a serious head injury in Chawbrook Road, rushed to the DGH and transferred to Hurstwood Park Neurological Hospital but died two weeks later.

Despite an extensive murder investigation and detectives speaking to hundreds of people, it is still unclear what happened that night and whether Miss Crowhurst, a street drinker who had a history of drug abuse, fell or was pushed by a mystery assailant.

At an inquest at Eastbourne on Wednesday East Sussex Coroner Alan Craze recorded an open verdict.

“There may have been an assault or may not, we aren’t ever going to know which,” said Mr Craze.

“There’s insufficient evidence to show lawful killing. But is there enough evidence to show on balance that this was an accident? There isn’t.”

The inquest heard Miss Crowhurst had been living at a flat in Albion Road with her partner Stephen Farrell, also a drug user who has since died.

During the investigation he told detectives Miss Crowhurst had been drinking that day and returned to their flat late in the evening. She went out to get her cats in and when she didn’t return, he went out and found her lying in the road.

Home Office pathologist Ashley Fegan-Earl said Miss Crowhurst had suffered a fractured skull and bleeding to the brain.

Detective Chief Inspector Mike Ashcroft, told the inquest, “A number of witnesses heard a woman shouting towards this man, ‘Come here and say that to my face’ or something to that effect. A few witnesses said they heard a man say, ‘If you get up I’ll kill you’.”

Recording an open conclusion, Mr Craze said, “There may have been an assault or may not, we aren’t ever going to know which. There’s insufficient evidence to show lawful killing.”

Miss Crowhurst was described as a fun loving free spirit who loved her family.