A HOLIDAYMAKER died after a tragic accident at a holiday cottage near Porlock, an inquest has heard

Angela Turnbull from Bournemouth was 55 when she fell down stairs at a property on Horner Farm last year.

Mrs Turnbull with her husband of almost 32 years, Geoffrey, and six friends arrived for a weekend break at the 14th century cottage on Friday, November 11, and all agreed that extra care should be taken and a light kept on after seeing the layout of the staircase and landing.

But next day Mrs Turnbull was found unconscious with serious head injuries at the bottom of the steps.

Two nurses in the party moved her into the recovery position but despite their efforts and those of paramedics and doctors, Mrs Turnbull died at Taunton’s Musgrove Park Hospital on the Sunday.

Mr Turnbull said: “The staircase doesn’t meet any current national standards, codes of practice, guidance and advice notes, building regulations or accepted good practice, so warnings should have been there.

“For the want of a cheap stair nosing to highlight the presence of the single step at the top of the stairs that she fell down, my dear Angela might still be with us today.”

Kimberley Lewington, environmental health officer at West Somerset Council, told the inquest that old houses did not have to comply with regulations about staircases – even if they were let out for holidays.

Mark Williams, the farmer who lets the property, said his parents and grandparents ran a B&B from the house for many years and no one had ever hurt themselves on
the stairs in that time.

He said: “The Tourist Board and Helpful Holidays inspect the property every year.

“I was very upset by all this as well. I got in touch with health and safety after the incident and asked if there was anything I could improve. I fitted a handrail after talking to them, although I did not have to.”

West Somerset Coroner Michael Rose recorded a verdict of accidental death caused by head injury and added he would advise Mr Williams to put some markings at the top of the landing.

He said: “Unless someone really knows the property, sometimes we can fail to understand the problems that we face.

“I extend my very deepest sympathy to you, Mr Turnbull. You had all come here for a weekend away and sadly it ended in tragedy.”