Man found his wife, 31, dead in the bath after discovering hallway flooded

A young mum-of-five who was found dead in the bath after a night out “was loved more than she will ever know”, he heartbroken dad said today.

Claire Louise Bevan’s husband Robert Jones found her in the bath after he discovered the hall in their home was flooded.

He told a coroner today that he “knew straight away” his beloved wife had died as soon as saw her in the bathtub on February 2 last year.

Care assistant Claire had been out in Liverpool the night before, visiting karaoke bars with her best friend Shaunie Buckley.

The pair had been in high spirits and Claire had sang a song by the band Foreigner.

The night out, on February 2, 2020, ended at the The Cornerhouse, in Widnes, Merseyside, where the pair were in “high spirits”, Shaunie said.

They became separated and returned home separately. Miss Buckley’s statement said her mother managed to speak to Claire at about 4.30am-5am.

Speaking after the inquest at Warrington Coroner’s Court, Claire’s father Ian Bevan paid tribute to his daughter, saying: “She was loved more than she will ever realise, and my greatest regret is you’re not supposed to outlive your children.

“She was more loved than she will ever know.”

The inquest found Claire must have been suffering from an undiagnosed heart condition and it was this, coupled with “moderate intoxication”, that led to her death.

Claire had complained of “awful” chest pains in the past, but had not been to the doctor about it.

What is an inquest?

Heath Westerman, assistant coroner for Cheshire, read medical evidence from Claire’s GP based at Grove House Practice, which said Claire had previously had depression but was not on medication for it, and had been prescribed the painkiller Tramadol for abdominal pain.

The cause of Claire’s death was initially deemed “unascertained” as there were no clear clues as to how she died.

Toxicology tests showed she had consumed a “moderate” amount of alcohol, about double the legal drink-drive limit for comparison, and no illicit substances or medication.

This uncertainty prompted Mr Westerman to ask Mr Jones if he had any information that might assist Dr Cheng Li, pathologist, to form a conclusion of how she came to die.

Mr Jones said Claire had complained of chest pains in late 2019 but it seemed related to anxiety.

Claire’s father Ian Bevan told the inquest she had divulged to him she had suffered chest pains “from time to time”.

Mr Bevan said: “The only thing I know of is she did from time to time have chest pains, and I would go to see the kids and she’d say ‘I’ve got pains in my chest but they do pass.

“I said ‘have you seen the doctor?’ and she said ‘Dad I will’.”

On “a few occasions” she told him she had “awful pains in my chest”.

The coroner read evidence from Detective Sergeant Henderson Pierre, who found no injuries or signs of suspicious circumstances and was informed she had experienced chest pains and had been taking painkillers for a knee complaint.

Dr Li said the fresh witness evidence indicated Claire had “a history of chronic chest pain”, and he concluded she died from “lymphocitic myocarditis” – meaning sudden loss of heart function – and “moderate intoxication”.

Mr Westerman accepted that cause of death for the inquest conclusion, recording that Claire Louise Bevan died at home on February 2, 2020.

In his concluding comments, he said: “It’s always distressing when a pathologist is not able to provide a medical cause of death after all the information they’ve had, and it’s always really beneficial to hear from a pathologist, and this is one example where by calling a pathologist and hearing further evidence, he’s able to provide a medical cause of death, which I’m sure will be one you accept and at least know how Claire passed away.”

In the week following Claire’s tragic death a fundraising appeal was launched to help to support her partner and five children, who live at Masefield Avenue in Widnes.

The page prompted nearly 300 donations in under a few weeks, as well-wishers and the bereaved heeded the call to honour the memory of mother-of-five Claire, described as a “diamond” and someone who always “put everyone before herself” by page organiser Rebekah Pill.