MYSTERY surrounds the death of a Basingstoke woman who died after drowning in the garden pond of her historic mansion.

Annabel Barbara Lucas, 61, died at her picturesque home at Whitewood Cottage in Herriard, near Basingstoke, in March 2019.

At an inquest today (Tuesday, April 6), Winchester Coroner's Court heard that Annabel was discovered at the 500-year-old property with paving stones and bricks attached to her head and neck.

The toxicology report found Ms Lucas, who had been 'tee-total' for thirty years, was four-and-a-half times over the drink-drive limit and had consumed a "potentially fatal" quantity of codeine.

Ms Lucas lived with an allergy condition called "multiple chemical sensitivity" which meant she had to avoid certain materials, the condition is said to have ‘blighted her life to some extent’.

Annabel’s life became 'constrained' during her final few months after no longer being able to see friends as her condition made her sensitive to mobile phone signals, perfume and laundry detergent.

Christopher Garton, Annabel’s partner, stated her medical condition caused ‘distressing’ symptoms such as pain in her sinus area, alongside an upset stomach, nausea and lethargy.

The inquest heard that Annabel Lucas was found by her brother, William Lucas, who removed a rucksack from his sister’s body and hid it in the garden and only later revealed that he had found it.

He said he had done so to protect her dignity and said he had not hidden any other evidence.

William Lucas stated: "From the moment I did it I realised it was a stupid thing to have done. Especially when the police turned up.

"I didn’t foresee that there would be such a reaction to it."

Despite Mr Garton stating that Ms Lucas had previously made plans to end her life at a clinic in Switzerland if her condition deteriorated, an open verdict was given.

Coroner Pegg recorded an open verdict saying there were “inconsistencies” in the evidence surrounding her death, adding: “I cannot be satisfied that Annabel had an intention to take her own life.”

He said that it was not clear where Ms Lucas had drunk the alcohol as no bottles were found at the cottage or how she had tied tight knots while intoxicated.

He added: “At the time of her death, she was intoxicated with both alcohol and codeine which in combination caused her to be in a state of stupor and her co-ordination to be impaired.

“When found, Annabel had heavy objects secured within her clothing to cause Annabel to be submerged in the pond.

“How and when those objects were secured in Annabel’s clothing cannot be ascertained.”

Annabel was described by Mr Garton as a ‘strong character’  who was ‘very capable’, ‘articulate’ and had a ‘passion for others’.