A "beautiful" mum was found dead at her home after leaving WhatsApp messages from her boyfriend unread.
Brian Cousins, from Liverpool, grew concerned after Anna Ayre stopped responding to his texts and didn't answer the door to her property in January this year. Anna, 43, was said to have been in "a bad place" following the breakup of her long term relationship in 2021, but began dating Brian a few weeks before she died.
The pair had met online and Anna spent "a few weeks" at his home near Liverpool after the New Year. Anna, a purchase ledger clerk, had suffered a severe head injury after collapsing at her home in Turton, in November last year, reports to Lancs Live.
After collapsing, the mum-of-two was taken by ambulance to to Royal Bolton Hospital, where CT scans showed the she had a fractured skull and a bleed on her brain. She suffered a number of seizures and was transferred to Salford Royal Infirmary where she was placed in an induced coma. Anna remained in hospital until December 10 and was treated on the critical care and trauma rehabilitation wards.
However Anna was determined to go home before her birthday on December 12 and, on December 11, following a safeguarding and capacity review, Anna returned home and assured doctors her friend would stay with her for several weeks over the Christmas period.
She told medics one of her daughters had epilepsy and she knew how to manage seizures. Doctors said Anna had the capacity to make decisions about her care and discharged her with pain relief and epilepsy medication to prevent seizures.
They warned Anna, who had a history of heavy drinking, that she must abstain from alcohol and keep up with her medication regime. Medical records showed Anna, who had a history of anxiety, anaemia and low magnesium, had spoken to her GP and pharmacist on the phone but did not attend a face-to-face appointment on December 20.
On December 23, Anna's GP tried to refer her to the Bolton neurosurgery team, but the referral was not successful due to her living outside the GP's practice area.
Anna failed to join a different GP practice and, during a video consultation on January 4, she said she was suffering with headaches which were worse at night and were interrupting her sleep. She said paracetamol was no longer helping, and said she did not know the cause of her collapse in November - although there was a family history of epilepsy.
At an inquest into Anna's death at Accrington Coroner's Court, toxicology tests showed Anna had no alcohol in her system at the time she died and there was no sign of any new injury. She had antidepressants in her blood, which corresponded to her prescription, but no anti-seizure drugs were detected.
Recording an open verdict, the coroner said: "Anna Caroline Ayre died on January 27, 2022, at her home address. She had previously sustained a head injury in November 2021 and had suffered a number of seizures. It is not possible to determine what caused Anna's death but there are no suspicious circumstances.
"This was a natural death by some unknown means. I hope to offer her children some reassurance that this was not suicide, it was not someone doing something wrong and it is not alcohol related. We know that."
Assistant Coroner Kate Bissett said Anna's death was "an extremely unusual situation".
The coroner also criticised police for arresting Anna's friend, David Mapleton, who was arrested on suspicion of assault in the immediate aftermath of her death but was later found to be "entirely innocent."
He said: "It was quite a traumatic experience. Anna was my main concern but they were unable to give me any information. I was treated fine but I think it was completely unnecessary. I was shocked. I was clearly shocked, but I understand the police have to follow these leads."
Speaking after the inquest, David said: "She was a lovely person, down to earth. She had beautiful eyes. She was very pretty. She went through a very difficult ordeal with her relationship breakup and the hospital.
"Anna always talked about her daughters. She loved them very much. She was a truly lovely person and she didn't deserve this. She was in the process of trying to see her daughters and was about to arrange visitation with her ex, but unfortunately that didn't materialise."
Anna's boyfriend, Brian, added: "Her children were her world. She struggled not being able to see them. She was a fit and active person and wanted to get back into running."