Woman died while wrangled in dispute over horse, inquest hears

Norfolk Coroner's Court, at County Hall in Norwich.

Norfolk Coroner's Court, at County Hall in Norwich. - Credit: Stuart Anderson

A woman who died in hospital three days after "a cry for help" was wrangled in a lengthy dispute over the rightful ownership of a horse, an inquest has heard.

Hannah Manning, 31, phoned the police in the early hours of January 14 this year, who arrived to find her in a vulnerable state in her Wymondham home.

She was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for treatment but died three days later of a hypoxic brain injury suffered in the incident.

An inquest into her death held in Norwich on Friday heard how Miss Manning had a history of mental health issues which were exacerbated by an ongoing dispute over a horse.

Evidence read out on behalf of her family at the inquest said that she had previously lived in Harleston with her mother, where they kept a horse called Bailey.

It was claimed that when Miss Manning began to suffer from mental health difficulties, she "lent out" the horse to a woman - only referred to in court as Sharon - to care for while she dealt with troubles.

The family said: "After a few weeks it became clear she was not going to give Bailey back. This really upset Hannah and did not help her mental state."

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The inquest then heard how at some stage Miss Manning had collected the horse and her mental state improved, but the dispute then worsened and the horse once again ended up in possession of the other woman.

Miss Manning then sought "a fresh start" by moving to live on her own in Wymondham - only to allegedly be sent horse hair in the post along with a letter claiming Bailey had died.

Concluding that Miss Manning had died from misadventure, coroner Simon Milburn said he believed that her call to the police ahead of her actions meant it was more likely to be "a cry for help" than a deliberate attempt to end her life.

Her medical cause of death was given as a hypoxic brain injury as a result of hanging.

At the time of her death, Miss Manning had been due to appear at Norwich Crown Court charged with 15 offences, including fraudulently selling dogs online. This was not mentioned during the inquest.

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