Young woman died after falling from Derbyshire waterfall seconds after romantic chat with partner
A tender moment between two lovers on top of a Derbyshire waterfall ended in tragedy when one lost her footing and fell 60 feet to her death, an inquest heard.
Seconds before Hannah Lowe and her partner were chatting about how happy they were and excited at the prospect of buying their first house together the next day.
The 29-year-old was an experienced hill walker and climber and had taken on the challenges of some of Britain’s biggest mountains with her family and boyfriend Adam Stanaway.
But on Easter Monday this year – the day before Adam’s 30th birthday - the pair decided on a relaxing walk in the Peak District with Hannah’s mother and sister and set out from the village of Edale.
The pair sat at the top of the Kinder Downfall and spoke about their future and of their dreams of building a home together, but as they got up to leave Hannah slipped and plunged to the foot of the waterfall.
In a statement read to Chesterfield Coroner’s Court Adam relieved the horrifying moment the woman he loved fell from his grasp as he tried to save her from the terrifying drop.
“We went for a little wander and sat on some rocks,” he said. “We were both very happy as we were buying our first house the next day, which was also my 30th birthday.
“We were only there a few minutes, then we got up to go.
“Hannah turned around and lost her footing on the rocks. I reached around to grab her bag but I couldn’t grab it in time and she fell.
“I looked, but I could not see her because my eyes are not that good.
“I shouted for Hannah’s mother and she came over. We tried to get down but had to go back up.”
Thirty minutes later he was told the devastating news that Hannah was dead.
The inquest heard that as they dialled 999 two ramblers arrived on the scene and one of them eventually made it to the foot of the falls, but the trainee accountant was dead.
She had suffered catastrophic brain injuries after landing on rocks at the foot of the beauty spot.
Police, paramedics, the Kinder Scout Mountain Rescue Team, the local air ambulance and the Humberside Coastguard were all involved in recovering Hannah's body and the rest of the walking party from the hilltop.
In recent years she had taken up bouldering - a form of rock climbing performed on small rock formations or artificial rock walls without the use of ropes or harnesses – and was said to “keep herself physically fit”.
The Kinder Downfall is a famous waterfall located on the edge of Kinder Scout in the Peak District. It is located on the River Kinder, and during high winds the water blows back on itself, creating a steam cloud that can be seen from miles around.
During winter, as in 2018, the waterfall often freezes attracting people to ice climb on it, but at the time of the tragedy, there was said to be little water running over it.
A police report read to the court said Hannah and Adam had gone out for the bank holiday afternoon with her mother Sharron and sister.
In the report, Sergeant Trevor Seed said the couple enjoyed the picnic at the top of Kinder Scout before they went off for “a little walk together”.
“They sat and talked about their future and how happy they were. It was Adam’s 30th birthday the next day and they were completing the purchase of their first house,” it said.
“They were saying what a wonderful time they were having and how very happy they were.
“But as they got to their feet to return to the rest of the group Hannah lost her footing. Her partner tried to grab her rucksack, but she slipped from his grasp.
“He cried out for help and both he and Hannah’s mother tried to climb down the waterfall, but were forced to give up.”
An investigation found there was no evidence to suggest any suspicious circumstances.
During her A level studies the young woman had a job as a litter picker at Alton Towers near her home in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, where her father Kevin also worked. She had worked herself up to the position of assistant accountant and was studying for her exams.
The report concluded: “It’s obvious that Hannah was a lovely lady who was very well-loved and extremely happy.”
In interview Adam told officers: “This has been a terrible shock. One minute she was happy and looking forward our new life together, the next she was gone.
“She was a wonderful, beautiful person, who will be sorely missed by all of those lucky to have known her.”
After the tragedy he posted a picture and message on Instagram which said: “Today I lost my soul mate, my partner in crime, my absolute rock.
“Words can’t begin to explain the pain I’m feeling right now but I’m honoured to have shared what time we had. I will spend the rest of my life making you proud and making myself a better person.
“You lifted me up and made me what I am in dark times and in happy times. I will love you forever sleep tight my darling until I see you again.”
Hannah’s mother told police her eldest daughter’s “natural charm” always shone through, even when she went through her “Goth stage”.
She said Hannah had always shown an interest in mountains, climbing and the “great outdoors”.
“As a family we went many times to the mountains of North Wales and Scotland,” she added.
She said her daughter and partner, who had lived together in a rented house for more than a year, were “very close” and “never had a cross word”.
She said Hannah introduced him to walking and climbing. They went indoor climbing together and both became interested in bouldering.
“We will remember Hannah as happy, beautiful, warm and funny,” she added.
Recording a conclusion of accidental death Derbyshire Assistant Coroner Emma Serrano said: “I take note of the many wonderful things that have been said about Hannah. To say that she was much loved is an understatement.”