Dental nurse, 25, froze to death in the snow after a night out because she had nowhere to stay

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Bernadette Lee froze to death in the snow after a night out
Bernadette Lee froze to death in the snow after a night out

A young dental nurse tragically froze to death on a night out when she found herself with nowhere to stay.

The body of Bernadette Lee, 25, who was wearing just a short dress, was found lying in the snow near to her older sister’s house.

An inquest heard how she had been due to stay with a friend after the January Saturday night out but they became separated.

Bernadette then made her way to her sister Jodie’s house but unknown to her Jodie had lost her keys and was staying elsewhere and there was no-one to let her in.

Her mobile phone showed she made 27 calls in her final hours desperately trying to contact friends but they ended at 3.51am.

Some of them were to her friend Cheryl Coley who she had arranged to stay with but they went unanswered as she was talking to her boyfriend on her phone.

Miss Coley told police she had a “special friendship” with Bernadette who knew she could turn up at any time and stay.

As temperatures plunged to minus 2C Bernadette lay down in the snow and died from hypothermia.

Her body was found by a dog walker at 7.50am on a lawn in Deal, Kent.

The North East Kent coroner heard she had a high level of alcohol in her body which would have put her at higher risk of hypothermia.

After the inquest Bernadette’s family, from Canterbury, Kent said her death could have been “so easily avoided” and begged partygoers to take care in cold temperatures.

Her father Roger, 63, and sister Jodie said: “We hate the thought of other families ever having to go through such a harrowing ordeal.

“We would like to say to everyone please don’t put yourself in a situation where you are totally dependent on someone else as things can go wrong.

The scene at Church Meadows in Deal, Kent, where Bernadette was found dead
The scene at Church Meadows in Deal, Kent, where Bernadette was found dead

“Always take a coat in the winter as plans can so easily change.

“If you arrange for someone to stay with you then please be responsible and remember that their lives could depend on you.”

Coroner Rebecca Cobb recorded a verdict of misadventure and explained: “That is similar to an accident but it means there were aspects of her behaviour that were involved in her death, like the alcohol she had consumed.”

Verdict: Misadventure.

6 COMMENTS

  1. With friends like Ms. Coley who needs enemies. I don’t care what I’m doing, I’m going to answer my friend’s calls. If I can’t answer the phone, I’m gonna call her back.

  2. Sad that her own damn friends couldn’t answer the phone or at least call back being on the phone with your boyfriend is no excuse smh what world we live in

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