An elderly woman found dead at Perfume Point in 2014 died as a result of traumatic asphyxiation after she fell down a bank and became trapped under a large rock, a Coroner's report has found.
An inquiry into the death of Frances Elizabeth Wilson, 75, has found she was walking her dog on the afternoon of November 20 along the Ahuriri waterfront when she slipped and fell down a bank of large rocks adjacent to the water.
Miss Wilson, who lived alone and generally walked her dog along the Ahuriri waterfront every day, had visited her niece who was a physiotherapist that day and complained of pain in her calf muscle when she exercised, saying the pain caused her to limp and made it difficult to walk her dog for more than 15 minutes.
Upon examining her leg, her niece excluded skeletal and muscular causes of the pain and referred Miss Wilson to her general practitioner, noting she thought the pain was vascular.
Her niece would later go on to tell police Miss Wilson had a history of high blood pressure and that in the months leading up to her death she had been complaining about losing balance when making quick movements.
Police were unable to locate any witnesses to Miss Wilson's last movements but Coroner Cana na Nagara considered it most likely she had been walking her dog along the boardwalk, or grass verge that separated the boardwalk from the steep bank of medium to large sized rocks.
"For some reason Miss Wilson left the boardwalk and grass verge, and either stood at the edge of the band of rocks, or made her way down it."
"Then, whether as a result of feeling dizzy, fatigued or having a cramp in her leg, she slipped or lost her balance and fell head first between the rocks, and a large limestone rock rolled onto her chest and restricted her ability to breathe."
Miss Wilson's dog, named Louis, was running loose in the area and eventually alerted a passing pedestrian who, reaching the edge of the rocks, saw Miss Wilson's legs and initially thought she was lying on the rocks.
However drawing closer he saw a large rock was pinned to her chest; her body upside down with her legs higher than her head.
He tried to move the rock but was unsuccessful so returned to the walkway to call emergency services.
While waiting for them to arrive he flagged down four other passers by who returned to Miss Wilson and managed to remove the rock so that it was not resting on her.
"They checked Miss Wilson, and all agreed that she had passed away. This was confirmed by Emergency Services staff on their arrival."
Miss Wilson's cell phone, keys and a plastic toy used for throwing balls for dogs were found directly underneath her.
Following a post mortem examination it was confirmed by Dr Kate White that the cause of death was traumatic asphyxiation.
The findings concluded her death was a result of an accident and was satisfied there were no suspicious circumstances.
Coroner Cana na Nagara extended her heartfelt sympathies to Miss Wilson's family and friends for their loss.