A BARROW woman who was declared dead at her home by a paramedic was still found to be breathing 20 minutes later by police, an inquest heard.

Opening in Cockermouth yesterday, the corner was told how Christine Lawrenson was found motionless on her kitchen floor when a concerned neighbour had gone to check on her.

The 61-year-old had not been seen for several days by those who knew her, which led Carol Walker to go round to her house.

After discovering her neighbour lying still on her kitchen floor, he inquest heard Mrs Walker called emergency crews to her home on West Shore Park, Walney.

Among those to attend was paramedic Garth Swarbrick and colleague Michelle Briars, who arrived shortly before 5.30pm on May 23, 2017.

At some time between 5.27pm and 6.04pm Mr Swarbrick declared Miss Lawrenson to be deceased, despite not touching her during the examination, the inquest heard.

He had told fellow medical staff that he had picked up a scent of decomposition, estimating that the body had been there for some time.

Summarising what he experienced when he attended the emergency call, a statement read on behalf of PC Patsy Blakeborough described officers having to force their way into the chalet.

She said: “The paramedic Swarbrick said we won’t need the defibrillator, saying ‘Yeah, she is dead’.”

The inquest heard how Michelle Briars had not examined the patient herself. The pair left the scene at 6.04pm.

Police officers then attended the address of Miss Lawrenson’s son John Dearden to inform him of the news.

Soon after paramedics had left, PC Blakeborough observed something strange, the inquest heard.

“I noticed movement from Miss Lawrenson,” she explained in her statement.

“Initially I actually thought it was a final body movement - I thought I was maybe seeing things.

“I asked PC (Andrew) Crosby, who saw the same movement as me.”

This was confirmed by PC Crosby.

The officers then called for an ambulance crew to return to the scene at about 6.20pm.

It was confirmed by Peter Ballan, sector manager for the North West Ambulance Service’s (NWAS) Broughton emergency operations centre, that the second emergency call was ‘incorrectly’ classified as a green call - which requires paramedics to arrive at the scene as soon practically possible.

He said instead that it should have been treated as a red call, which requires attendance within eight minutes.

This - along with a high demand for ambulances at the time of the incident - led to a delay in getting paramedics back to the scene the coroner was told.

Following the incident, Mr Ballan confirmed that NWAS had made changes to the way calls are classified, to remove the chance of human error.

Paramedics arrived for the second time, 25 minutes after the call had been made by police.

The inquest was told how a do not resuscitate order was served on Miss Lawrenson, after doctors at Furness General Hospital decided any attempts to save her would be unsuccessful.

It was their assessment that she was dying when she was brought into the hospital. Efforts had been made to stabilise her condition.

She was declared dead at 8.43pm with the cause of death determined as liver failure caused by alcoholic liver disease.

Miss Lawrenson had a long-term problem with alcohol, which had contributed to the breakdown in her relationship with her family, including her daughter Zoe Mendez, the inquest heard.

A statement read out on behalf of Mrs Mendez said: “I didn’t know many of the details of her later years, we lost her many years ago. We prefer to remember her as the mum of our childhood.”

A statement read out on behalf of Mrs Walker said: “My husband said he could see her (Christine) through the window. I phoned an ambulance, and then the police attended.

“The doors were locked, and we didn’t have a key.”

It was then that police forced entry into to the caravan, which was located on West Shore Park.

“Paramedics went in and police came out after no more than five minutes,” continued Mrs Walker.

“It is upsetting she was lying in her house. I was shocked, but not surprised. I feared one day she would fall ill in her home.”

Evidence will be heard from Garth Swarbrick - the paramedic who first declared Miss Lawrenson dead - today. The inquest continues but is expected to conclude tomorrow.