A WOMAN who “everyone loved” tragically died in an accident after losing her footing on the barge where she lived, a coroner ruled.

An inquest into the death of Lucy Grace Spafford, 34, was held virtually at Bradford Coroners’ Court.

She was recovered from the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, near Bingley, on Wednesday, November 25 last year.

Her death sparked an outpouring of grief from those who knew her.

“She was just a bright star and was everyone’s best friend,” said Lucy’s mum, Maggie Garratt, in a tribute last year, and she added: “She was artistic, funny, witty, but she never thought that much of herself, she was always thinking of other people.”

In a statement, she told the hearing how her daughter was a “very special person who everyone loved so much” and she was the “kindest person you could ever wish to meet”.

The inquest heard that Lucy, described as an intelligent and creative woman who loved nature and wildlife, had lived on a barge for around four to five years and was in the process of renovating it at the time of her death. Lucy, who grew-up in Denholme and attended Bingley Grammar School, studied towards an art degree in London for two years before returning home to finish her final year and then moving onto a part-time masters. She was said to have suffered “great pain” due to physical ill-health.

She had fibromyalgia and had also been diagnosed with ADHD, for which she was put on medication.

Her mum said her fibromyalgia was a real struggle on some days and working was becoming difficult, but she was trying to set-up her own business.

Mrs Garratt raised concerns about the impact of the ADHD medication on her daughter, fearing it was making her paranoid and she believed she was being stalked.

Senior coroner Martin Fleming said Lucy was under “considerable stress” and it had got to the point where Mrs Garratt had raised concerns about her mental ill-health.

However, she said Lucy had stopped taking the medication and was beginning to seem better in herself. In a statement read out to the court, she said she visited her daughter a couple of weeks before her death and “she seemed really well and happy”.

Mr Fleming said there was no evidence to suggest she harboured any thoughts of harming herself in any way.

Lucy’s body was discovered near her barge on the morning of November 25 by a walker who raised the alarm with a passer-by. Police were called to the scene and she was identified by a driving licence found in a purse. Toxicology reports showed Lucy tested negative for alcohol and drugs and there was nothing to suggest she was taking prescription medication.

She was found to have used cannabis prior to her death, which the inquest heard she used to self-medicate her chronic pain, but it could not be said when it had been taken. A police investigation found no evidence of third-party involvement in her death and this was also borne out in the pathologist’s investigation, who gave a formal cause of death as drowning.

Mr Fleming said that on the balance of probabilities, she had died an accidental death and had entered the water after losing her footing on the barge and, once in the canal, succumbed and passed away. The coroner described it as a “very, very sad inquest” and said: “She still had so much to give.”