26-year-old woman lay dead in hot tub at parents' garden for three days after she accidentally fell in following an epileptic fit
A postmortem examination ruled Ella-Louise Tunney's death as accidental and cause of death as drowning after having an epileptic fit
An inquest into the death of a 26-year-old woman heard that she drowned in a hot tub in her family home after suffering an epileptic fit, and her body was discovered only three days later as the cover was on top.
According to the Daily Mail, a search for Ella-Louise Tunney, who worked as head of settlements at the financial services firm Alpha FX, was launched on June 23 last year after she couldn't be located at her parents' home in Eton Wick, near Windsor in Berkshire.
After searches in nearby fileds and her place of work turned up empty, police discovered her drowned in the inflatable hot tub after lifting its cover, which was said to have shut down due to the wind.
The inquest heard that Ella-Louise had been diagnosed with epilepsy as a teenager but had managed to keep it under control by taking medication. However, the condition worsened and by November 2017, she was suffering from blackouts. She reportedly suffered one during a work trip while she was in the bath, but was dragged out by a colleague on that occasion.
When she disappeared in June, her father Lee Tunney initially assumed she had gone to sleep in the annex of their home which housed her living quarters. When she did not turn up even the next day, he thought she might be out watching the World Cup with some friends, though her handbag and phone were still at the residence. Alarm bells began ringing after there were still no signs of her on June 25.
Speaking at the inquest, he said, "Ella was expecting friends around in the afternoon to play in the hot tub. She asked me to set the hot tub up, which I did. I went out during the day and when I came back there was no sign of anyone in the kitchen, her handbag and phone I think were on the side."
"I naturally assumed Ella was tired and she had gone back down to the annex to sleep it off, which she does quite often. I left it at that because all of her stuff was there," he continued. "On Sunday, I thought it was a bit strange I hadn't seen Ella, but again sometimes with Ella, she might work very hard, go out on Friday, then she might stay in the annex. I thought she was really tired and was having a good lie-in."
On June 25, he called Alpha FX to ask if they had seen her, but was told the 26-year-old had not made it to work. It was then that Tunney filed a missing person report with the authorities. The Mail reported that when police constable Mohammed Sajad from Thames Valley Police arrived at their residence, he found the father searching a field adjacent to the house with his dog.
Sajad revealed to the inquest that, as per protocol, they began searching the home thoroughly. He said he then remembered Tunney telling him that he had last seen his daughter when she was preparing the hot tub. When he lifted the cover, their worst nightmare had come true — she was found lying inside, face down.
The 26-year-old's best friend, Hannah Hinton, explained how this may have happened, saying, "Ella liked a drink, she would binge drink on a Friday night. A combination of working so hard, the drinking and the epilepsy just wiped her out."
A postmortem examination ruled the death as accidental and cause of death as drowning after having an epileptic fit.