Woman plunges from Highbury balcony hours after grandparents’ joint funeral, inquest hears

Alison French fell from the third floor of Bushfield House

Alison French fell from the third floor of Bushfield House - Credit: Archant

A man accused of murder after his partner plunged to her death was completely vindicated by a coroner on Tuesday.

Alison French was 39 when she fell, possibly head first, from her home on the third floor of Bushfield House on the Highbury Estate, Highbury, in the early hours of March 13.

She had been at the joint funeral of her grandparents just hours before and was said to be depressed, but her boyfriend and father of her baby, Paul Malcolm, was arrested on suspicion of killing her, partly because they had a “volatile” relationship.

But speaking at St Pancras Coroners Court, Det Sgt Daniel Yoeman from the murder squad said: “There is no evidence he had anything whatsoever to do with her death.”

Miss French was very close to her grandfather and after he died Det Sgt Yoeman said she was “not in a good place” and had started drinking excessively.

Following her grandparents’ wake, Miss French and Mr Malcom went home, where they had argued.

The court heard how Mr Macolm called police at 12:20am and said: “Where’s the baby? There’s so much blood. She might have fallen, what has she done to herself?”

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She was found on the floor outside the block and pronounced dead at 12.53am.

Det Sgt Yoeman said: “Paul was extremely distressed. Police couldn’t ascertain a coherent story and because there had been a history of arguments between Paul and Alison he was arrested on suspicion of killing her.”

He was never charged and the investigation against him was dropped in April.

Assistant deputy coroner Sean McGovern asked Miss French’s daughter Kayleigh Monteith if she thought her mother could have committed suicide.

She said: “Never in a million years. She had a beautiful baby and had already been through so much. She’s been my mum for 21 years and she would never take her own life. I know it’s hard to think how she fell, but it goes through my mind every day.”

A blood test showed Miss French had consumed alcohol and small amounts of cocaine and amphetamine.

Mr McGovern said some things about the case pointed to suicide, but they were not conclusive and an open verdict was recorded.

He said this did not imply there was anything criminal about the case and told Mr Malcom he had “no stain on his character”. He added: “I can’t think of anything nice to say. It’s a terrible tragedy someone not yet 40 has died.”