A British woman plunged to her death after falling from a balcony in Italy, an inquest heard.
Lucy Whiteside, 30, had been in Mondragone near Naples for just over a week before she fell to her death on October 26 last year.
She had relocated to the country to teach English to children as part of her lifelong dream to live in Italy.
Bolton Coroners’ Court heard Ms Whiteside, who wanted to become a scriptwriter, flew to the country on October 16, 2019.
Her mother Carol Woodward said her daughter was the ‘happiest she had been in a long time’.
Ms Whiteside kept in regular contact with loved ones and had shown them around her second-storey two-bedroom apartment over the phone.
The court heard she had made friends and was offered a second teaching job within 10 days of being in the country, reports the Manchester Evening News.
At 8.30pm on October 26, Ms Whiteside spoke with her mum and stepfather. She said her boiler was broken.
The hearing was told she planned to have a bath and watch a film that evening.
At around 10.30pm, Ms Whiteside’s sister Gemma Bentley received a phone call from someone who said she had been found collapsed in the street.
It was later established the caller was a paramedic. A passer-by had called emergency services after finding Ms Whiteside intoxicated.
It is not known what happened between the time Ms Whiteside spoke to her mum on the phone and when she was found in the street.
She was taken back to her apartment by paramedics and her landlord.
It is understood they stayed with her for around an hour and gave her fluids.
Italian police believe Ms Whiteside may have heard dogs barking from the apartment next door and went out onto her balcony to see them.
It is thought she held onto a glass partition separating balconies to peer around the corner before it gave way.
She fell to the ground and died from her ‘unsurvivable’ injuries almost immediately, the court heard.
Ms Whiteside’s mother Mrs Woodward said she found out about her daughter’s death the next morning after spending the night trying to get in touch with Italian police.
Italian-speaking friends managed to communicate with officers, who broke the tragic news.
“Lucy was living her dream,” Mrs Woodward told the hearing.
“It was something she had planned for a long time and every day we spoke to her she was full of enthusiasm for the Italian way of life.
“She lived opposite a monastery and said how the bells were ringing all the time and how nice she found that and how she was living the real Italian life.”
Coroner Alan Walsh concluded there was no evidence Ms Whiteside’s mood was low at the time.
He said she seemed in good spirits and had made plans for the weeks ahead.
Italian police said they were ‘confident’ there was no third-party involvement as the apartment door was locked when they arrived.
Dr Walsh concluded Ms Whiteside’s death was an accident.
He said: “She was the sort of daughter every parent would be proud to have and someone who had a lot to look forward to.
“She was at an age where she was ready to settle down and she was fulfilling her dreams before settling down.
“She was someone who was looking forward to the future.
“She had the opportunity to experience that dream, all be it for a short amount of time. I’m enormously sad for her death at the age of 30.
He told her family: “It’s a great loss for the children she taught and for you as a family.”
Speaking to the Manchester Evening News after the hearing, Ms Whiteside’s loved ones spoke of their heartbreak.
They described her as a ‘vibrant force of nature’, who was ‘universally loved by everyone she met throughout her life’.
In a statement, the family added: “Lucy’s family would like to thank the Bolton coroner Alan Walsh for his sensitive and caring handling of the inquest which took place today.
“Lucy was a vibrant force of nature; a free spirit who loved to travel and was universally loved by everyone she met throughout her short but very full life.
“She was a fiercely loyal friend and has left an indelible mark on many people’s lives.
“Family meant everything to Lucy and she was a dearly loved daughter, sister and the best auntie in the world to her three adored nephews.
“She was also a fanatical lover and protector of all dogs and cats and a committed vegetarian.
“She was an avid film maker and was one of the first youtubers, a prolific script writer and long-standing fan of JRR Tolkien – The Lord of The Rings being her favourite film.
“Her recent jobs saw her teaching English to young children in South Korea, China and Italy.
“Her funeral service was attended by some 200 family and friends who came from all over the UK and Europe to pay their respects.
“An excerpt from Tolkien’s The Hobbit was used in her funeral service: ‘Still round the corner there may wait a new road or secret gate; And though I have oft passed them by, A day will come at last when I shall take the hidden paths that run, West of the moon, East of the sun.’
“We will all continue to love and miss her forever – she has left a legacy of a life well lived.”