Cancer sufferer found in lake

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A former county archivist who suffered with breast cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease was found dead in Bedford Lake, an inquest has heard.

Patricia Bell, of Edmond Road, Bedford, was found in the lake at Bedford Park on September 12 last year.

Beds Police and Beds and Luton Fire and Rescue Service attended the incident after council workers made the discovery.

Detective Sergeant Linda Hollowell told the court: “At 7.44am police received a 999 call from a member of the public. A grounds worker for Bedford Borough Council had got her colleague after she was approached by two people who said they had seen a bag, a bottle of alcohol and a walking stick by the bench, and thought there may be a body in the lake.

“They saw a blue bag in the lake and after attempting to get the bag out, they realised it was a body.”

She added the last time Patricia was seen alive was by her cleaner the previous day. She was then seen on CCTV at Budgens at 5pm, but there was no sighting of her after that time.

Pathology tests found that Patricia had been suffering with breast cancer and an enlarged heart. And there was a significant amount of alcohol found in her system. Deputy coroner Bob Amos told the inquest that her GP had said that Patricia had recently been diagnosed Alzheimer’s Disease and she had been feeling depressed in the weeks leading up to her death.

She had also been upset by a recent comment from a nurse that her breast had smelt.

The court also heard that Patricia had tried to take her life twice previously.

Mr Amos said he could not be sure that Patricia had intended to take her own life or that it had been an accident, so he recorded an open verdict.