A POWYS woman died after suffering a “catastrophic” head injury following a fall down the stairs at her home, an inquest has heard.

Catherine Elizabeth Sandford, 64, died on July 27, 2022, at her Pantycelyn home in Aberyscir, near Brecon.

Her inquest was opened in August and, at an inquest hearing at Pontypridd Coroner's Court on March 12 this year, senior coroner Graeme Hughes recorded her cause of death as being from injuries sustained in a fall or collapse.

Mr Hughes said alcohol, as well as several types of medication, were found in Mrs Sandford’s system.


“Catherine Sandford had several co-morbidities (two or more diseases or medical conditions in a patient),” said Mr Hughes.

“On the early morning of July 27, 2022, whilst at home at Pantycelyn, Aberyscir, she has suffered an unwitnessed fall or collapse down her stairs.

“This has led to a catastrophic head injury and her death. The precise circumstances leading to her fall/collapse and death were unknown.”

Born in Pontypool in 1957, Mrs Sandford was a receptionist and was married to Ralph Sandford.

What happens at an inquest and what can the press report?

Reporting on inquests is one of the most difficult jobs faced by any journalist, but there are important reasons why local newspapers attend coroner’s court hearings and report on proceedings.

Here we will try and answer some of your questions about what will happen, what can be reported and why.