The death of a young woman from Lavenham in the French Alps was a ‘tragic accident’

Emily 'Mimi' Watts
Emily 'Mimi' Watts
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The death of a 26-year-old woman who became trapped under snow in the French Alps was a ‘tragic accident’, an inquest has heard.

Emily Watts, known as Mimi, died in December 2012 after falling and becoming trapped under 70cm of snow in the popular ski resort of Chamonix.

Coroner Dr Peter Dean gave a ruling of accidental death at an inquest held in Bury St Edmunds on Monday.

Dr Dean said: “This was a tragic accident. A freak accident. There’s no evidence of her behaving in a reckless or careless manner this is genuinely a tragic accident.”

Speaking after the inquest her family said they agreed with the verdict and described Mimi as a ‘fun-loving, greatly creative person who looked always on the brighter side of things’.

The inquest heard that on the afternoon of December 8 Mimi, of Bury Road, Lavenham, had separated from friends in order to snowboard alone.

While unaccompanied she fell and was buried by snow.

The inquest was told that the consistency of the snow would have made it impossible for Mimi to free herself.

The edge of Mimi’s snowboard was spotted protruding from the mountain by another skier and attempts were made to release her.

However, despite attempts by resort employees and visitors Mimi remained trapped until a Ski Patrol team arrived with shovels.

Mimi was taken to hospital where she died five days later with her family around her.

Coroner Dr Peter Dean said: “She was a responsible snow boarder there’s no suggestion her conduct was in any way reckless.

“She was clearly someone who was experienced and careful in what she was doing.”

The inquest heard that Mimi’s death was caused by brain damage and hypoxic cardiac arrest resulting from a fall in deep snow.

Speaking after the inquest Mimi’s mother and step-father, Nicky and Malcolm McAllister, said: “This gives us a sense of conclusion to this process. What we have to take forward is the Good Story charity that we founded in Mimi’s name.”

Good Story was founded by Mimi’s family to support young entrepreneurs establish creative businesses.

The name of the charity is the one Mimi intended to give her own clothing business - 18 months after her death it has already supported more than 40 people.