A 65-year-old grandmother who drowned in a choppy sea off a rocky coast may have been trying to save her pet Jack Russell dog called Sweep, an inquest heard yesterday.
Toni Robinson, of The Weavers, Northampton, had been on a break with husband Paul in a holiday cottage at Moelfre, Anglesey, when the tragedy happened last October.
Mr Robinson recounted at the inquest at Caernarfon how he had given her breakfast in bed then, while he prepared sandwiches for a day trip, his wife had taken the dog for a walk along the coastal path.
“She was happy that morning,” he said. When she failed to return, he became anxious and rang her mobile three times without getting a response.
Paul Mahon, of Runcorn, fishing for mackerel from the rocks, noticed what appeared to be a body in the sea. Moelfre inshore lifeboat was at the scene within minutes and she was given CPR both in the boat and in an air ambulance helicopter but certified dead on arrival at a Bangor hospital.
Lifeboat mechanic Vincent Jones told coroner Dewi Pritchard Jones there was a swell of up to three metres, with waves breaking over the rocks. If someone had fallen in it wouldn’t be easy to get out.
Det Sgt Richard Griffith said an officer had found the dog. It was very wet, had no lead, and its face was bloodied. “My hypothesis at the time was that possibly the dog had entered the sea and Mrs Robinson had tried to recover it and couldn’t get out,” he stated.
Pathologist Dr Mark Lord said Mrs Robinson died from drowning. He believed injuries to her hands and fingernails could have arisen when she tried to get out of the water against the rocks.
The coroner recorded a conclusion of accidental death on Mrs Robinson, who had recently retired after running an award-winning restaurant and pub for 22 years.
Mr Pritchard Jones said it was possible she was dashed against the rocks as she tried to get out.
“My guess – you can’t put it any stronger – based on weak evidence, is that the dog probably fell into the sea and she tried to recover it and fell in herself,” he remarked. “She tried to get out but failed because of the rocky nature of the coastline and she drowned.”
After the inquest Mr Robinson said :”Toni was devoted to the dog.” ENDS