Woman Died After Getting Locked In Debenhams When It Closed For The Night

Mrs Rawbone was found in the toilets at Debenhams in Folkestone (Picture: SWNS)
A woman died after getting locked in a branch of Debenhams when it closed. Lorraine Rawbone, 70, had suffered a blood clot in Folkestone, Kent, and collapsed in the toilets the day before her golden wedding anniversary party.

Staff said they checked the toilets before closing but Mrs Rawbone went unnoticed in March this year, an inquest heard. She had arranged to meet her husband Terry in a car park at 5.20pm so he could give her a lift home, but when she failed to show, he began to panic.

Terry said: ‘I was beginning to worry because she was always very prompt and I just knew something was not right. ‘This was just unheard of. I was constantly phoning her mobile every few seconds and it was just ringing and going to answer phone.’

He reported her missing to police who scoured town centre toilets.

She was discovered via an iPhone tracker (Picture: National)
However, her son used an iPhone tracker and that’s when they realised she was inside Debenhams but were initially unable to track down the keyholder. Another officer finally contacted a relative who worked at the shop and Mrs Rawbone was found unconscious

PC Chandler told the inquest: ‘I was extremely concerned for the welfare of Mrs Rawbone. ‘I felt Mr Rawbone’s concerns were genuine and we needed to find his wife as soon as possible because the situation was escalating.’ A post-mortem examination concluded the cause of death was a large pulmonary embolism – an often fatal blood clot.

Recording a death of natural causes, assistant coroner for South East Kent, Christine Freedman, said: ‘This is a very sad case, particularly because it was the day before her golden wedding anniversary. ‘The procedure for checking the store at closing time failed to find her and there was further difficulty in locating a key holder. These delays reduced her chance of survival.’

A spokesman for Debenhams said: ‘We wish to extend our sincere condolences to the family.

‘The coroner’s concerns have been noted by our health and safety team.’

Credit: Metro, UK

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