A 39-YEAR-OLD woman died after falling down the stairs at her home in Knutsford, a court heard.

On Wednesday, an inquest was formally opened into the death of Phillipa Howarth.

The court was told how at around 9.15pm on February 22, police received a phone call from a friend of Ms Howarth’s to say that she had been missing since the previous morning.

Her friend said that she had been to visit Ms Howarth’s home, on Chapel Lane, Knutsford, but there was no answer despite the lights being on and a window upstairs being open.

As a result, police attended the address but received no answer so had to force entry.

On entering Ms Howarth’s home, they discovered that she was lying on the floor at the bottom of the stairs and was slumped in an unnatural position.

The court heard how officers searched Ms Howarth’s home but said this provided difficult as it was ‘extremely cluttered’.

Despite her being known to Cheshire Police for mental health issues, officers deemed that there were no suspicious circumstances and that Ms Howarth had fallen down the stairs.

Her death was confirmed at 12.38am on February 23.

Concluding the inquest, senior coroner for Cheshire Coroner’s Court Jacqueline Devonish said that the medical cause of death has been offered as a traumatic brain injury due to falling down the stairs, with underlying cocaine misuse.

Ms Devonish also came to the conclusion that Ms Howarth’s death was an accident.

She extended her condolences to Ms Howarth’s family and friends.