County Durham teenager froze to death after falling off her bike

A snowy image of Consett, where Gemma died (library image) Credit: PA (library image)

A teenager from Consett in County Durham froze to death after falling from her bike and laying undiscovered just yards from her home.

An inquest into the death of 19-year-old Gemma Hinds found the teenager suffered hypothermia after she was knocked unconscious whenshe fell on a road in Consett, County Durham, on a winter's night earlier this year.

The hearing was told she had been reported missing by her family and police had searched the area, but not the small car park where she lay unnoticed until the following morning.

Detective Sergeant Scott Jameson told the hearing in Crook, County Durham:

"She was found near her house.

"The car park itself had not been looked at or searched."

The alarm was raised shortly after 6am by a resident on the morning ofJanuary the 18th.

Gemma, a student, was unconscious when she was found - and an ambulance was called.

Paramedics tried to give her CPR and she was taken to the UniversityHospital of North Durham but she could not be saved.

The hearing was told a post mortem examination, carried out by a HomeOffice pathologist, had concluded the cause of death was as a result ofhypothermia.

Police said there were no suspicious circumstances.

DS Jameson said an investigation had concluded she had fallen while taking a short cut.

He said:

"It was quite clear from observations that the bike came acrossthe field and down the embankment. There were skid marks, and grass and mud underneath the pedals.

The handlebars were bent indicating some sort of impact.

"There were scratch marks in the ice and sand where it had skiddedhorizontally across the car park."

Oliver Longstaff, assistant coroner of County Durham, recorded a verdict of

accidental death.

He said:

"Concern was raised and the police have gone out to look for her.

"What was not anticipated is that that by the time the alarm was raisedGemma had already come home and taken a short cut and come to grief in treacherous conditions.

"The reason Gemma did not get up having crashed her bike is she wasunconscious.

"By the time she had come round after the impact she had already succumbed to the effects of hypothermia.

"She would have been unconscious when she hit the deck and would have been unconscious when hypothermia set in.

She wasn't in pain.

"This is a death which can be described as a tragic accident."