Stevenage’s mom died in tragic caravan accident in France after stranger asked for paracetamol


A mother from Hertfordshire has died from ‘severe head trauma’ after falling from her camper van while on holiday in France, an investigation has found. Angela Dowsett, 56, from Stevenage but living in Grantham, Lincolnshire, had taken a motorhome holiday to France in September of last year (2019).

One evening, she and her husband were at a truck stop just before 10 p.m. when they heard a knock on the door.

Someone had come to ask if they had paracetamol but when Angela returned, after looking for it, the person was missing.

On her way up the stairs to the camper van, she fell backwards before banging her head on a sidewalk.

She fell into a coma and was rushed to hospital. Unfortunately, she suffered a brain hemorrhage that was inoperable and her family made the decision to turn off her life support device on September 30 in a French hospital.

An inquest into her death took place yesterday (Thursday 26 November) at Hertfordshire Coroners’ Court in Hatfield where Angela’s family paid tribute to their ‘lovely’ mother and thanked the local community for their support.

A tragic accident while trying to help others in need

The inquest was heard at the Hertfordshire Coroner Service at the Old Hatfield Courthouse

Senior Coroner Geoffrey Sullivan read the evidence at yesterday’s inquest and the court heard for the first time what happened the night Angela sadly fell.

French police reports said Angela had spent an RV vacation in northwest France with her husband.

They had toured the neighborhood and, on September 27, Angela and her husband decided to rest in a truck stop near Le Mans.

After parking and starting to enjoy the rest, around 10 p.m. they heard a knock on the motorhome door and a man asked them if they had paracetamol.

Angela thought she had them and went to get them. However, when she returned, the man was missing.

Investigations do not investigate every death that occurs, but will hear unexplained or suspicious deaths of individuals. They will hear witnesses from organizations, health services, as well as officers and police who investigated the incidents.

The law says the coroner must open an inquest into a death if there is a reasonable reason to suspect the death was due to anything other than natural causes.

An investigation is a limited investigation aimed at establishing the facts:

  • Who is dead;
  • When they are dead;
  • Where they died;
  • How they died; and
  • Information required by the registrar of deaths for the death to be registered.

There is a formal court and everyone must stand when the coroner enters and leaves the court.

It is in the public interest to have an effective investigative system, as it protects the legal rights of the deceased’s family and other interested parties. It highlights the lessons to be learned and the progress of medical knowledge.

Many families also find it helpful to have the chance to ask witnesses questions and, at the end of the process, know that they have full and accurate facts about the death of their loved one.

Angela’s family told the court during the inquest that they believed her husband “heard a loud cry” after she stepped outside for a few minutes before finding that she had fallen back from the steps of the camping car.

As Angela fell, she hit her head on the sidewalk and fell into a coma.

His family also explained to the court how incredibly steep the steps to the camper van were with no handrails to support it. They said that “even negotiating them during the day was difficult”.

Emergency services were called and Angela was rushed to a nearby hospital where she was admitted in the early hours of September 28.

A generous organ donation

Mr. Sullivan then read the testimony of French hospital staff who had treated Angela. A CT scan revealed that she had suffered a “severe head injury” that resulted in bleeding in the brain.

Her family was alerted and they rushed to France to be with their mother. Doctors explained that unfortunately due to “the extent of the injury” they could not operate on Angela.

The family made the decision to disable Angela’s life support system on September 30, and a French pathologist determined during a post-mortem examination that the cause of death was “traumatic intercranial hemorrhage.”

Angela’s family also made the generous decision to allow the donation of her kidneys, which they said was entrusted to two different people.

A British pathologist was also commissioned to carry out a post-mortem examination, but as this had already been carried out by the French, they concluded “that the cause of death could not be determined”.

French officials also concluded that Angela died from an accident and that there was no third party involvement.

The conclusion du coroner

Summarizing the evidence, Mr Sullivan said: “The majority of the evidence is actually provided by a family member before the investigation and this afternoon.

“Mrs Dowsett was on a motorhome vacation with her husband in North West France and on the evening of September 27 their motorhome was approached by someone they did not know and they asked for a pain relief.

“Her husband said they didn’t have any. She went out to talk to them and as she got back into the motorhome, she fell and hit her head on the sidewalk. She fell with some force as it caused severe trauma to her. brain damage and she fell into a coma.

“Paramedics arrived and Ms. Dowsett had a brain hemorrhage. The swelling in her brain was such that she could not be treated with surgery and she was placed on life support.

“Unfortunately, she did so on September 30, 2019, and an organ donation took place. “

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Mr. Sullivan finally added, “That leaves me first to consider the conclusion of an accident.

“To register the conclusion of an accident, I have to be convinced, on a balance of probabilities, that the death occurred as an accident – and in this court which has its normal meaning – and fall while climbing the stairs of a campsite -car can clearly be described as an accident.

“I am satisfied on the balance of probabilities that Ms. Dowsett died as a result of an accident and this is the conclusion I will record. ”

Mr. Sullivan offered his belated condolences to Angela’s family.

“She was a lovely person and was always there to help everyone, she wanted to help anyone she could”

Angie Dowsett tragically died while on vacation in France

After the heartbreaking accident, the local community came together and raised a whopping £ 4,195 for Angela’s family on their fundraising page.

They previously thanked the audience for their generosity and paid tribute to their mother.

Following the investigation, Angela’s family once again paid tribute to their mother and thanked the local community for their support during this difficult time.

The family said, “She was a lovely person and was always there to help everyone, she wanted to help anyone she could.

“We are very grateful for everyone’s support and without them we could not have brought our mom home from France.

“We are extremely grateful to Lisa and Jenine, our best friends, for hosting a quiz night in support of Stevenage and for all of their help.

“It helped raise money for the Mommy’s Plot that we did and where we can now pay tribute. We call it our garden which is a lovely place for our children to visit. “


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