Health-conscious woman, 31, died of natural causes

Reporter:

Rebecca Cole

A SELF-employed graphic designer found dead at her home had a heart condition, an inquest heard.

Julia Lawton-Roberts, 31, was described by family members as “very health conscious” and liked going on long runs in the countryside.

But she was found dead at her home in Dinbren Road, Llangollen, in January, two days after she failed to appear for work, which was described as an act that was “completely out of character” by her family.

Medical professionals were unable to determine the cause of death at the time, the Wrexham inquest was told.

Bharti Gittins, assistant deputy coroner for North East Wales, said: “This is one of the most difficult cases I have ever seen because I have so little to go on.”

The coroner was told Miss Lawton-Roberts sometimes suffered dizzy spells after extreme exercise.

Her mother, Zlatina, said: “Julia would go on quite long runs, for about 45 minutes, and she would come in so red in the face and would just collapse into a chair. I’d say to her ‘why do you do this’?

“And she once told us she’d been training and had felt quite unwell and dizzy afterwards but she would always downplay these things.”

Mrs Roberts also confirmed she, her mother and her aunt had also suffered from similar spells and heart palpitations in their younger years and there was a family history of heart arrhythmia, a condition which causes the heart to stop momentarily.

Miss Lawton-Roberts’ father John told Mrs Gittins his daughter had been seen by a friend walking along the canal in Llangollen with a “bright complexion and in a good mood” hours before she failed to appear for work.

Her body was found two days later on the afternoon of January 20.

Mrs Gittins recorded death by natural causes and concluded: “I think she must have died or lost consciousness very suddenly because it sounds very unlike her not to ring someone to let them know she was too unwell for work.

“And given the strong family history of heart arrhythmia I think it is that, triggered by tiredness or over-exertion, which caused her tragic death.

“Only God will ever know exactly what happened but I think her heart just stopped.”

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