A WOMAN who had been suffering with depression and anxiety for a number of years was found dead on the shoreline of a Hampshire beach, an inquest heard.

However, a pathologist said she believed Sheila Chrystie had suffered problems with her heart, rather than drowning.

Winchester Coroner’s Court heard the 70-year-old, from Ellesfield Drive, in West Parley, Dorset, was discovered on the beach at Milford-on-Sea on the morning of January 29 by a dog walker.

Her husband Andrew said she had gone out for a drive after having an evening meal the day before, but when she didn’t return home he called the police and reported her missing. Mr Chrystie told the inquest: “On previous occasions she had gone out in the car and returned. Driving was just another technique to reduce her anxiety.”

He said that in the months before her death she had concerns about possibly suffering from motor neurone disease, and about changes to her mental health treatment.

Mr Chrystie said he went out with his son in the morning to look for her and found her car near the beach, in a place they visited frequently. Police then found them and told them of the discovery of her body by the water.

Pathologist Eleanor Jaynes told the inquest she found no evidence of drowning during the post mortem examination, but did find evidence of a previous heart attack, which she said Mrs Chrystie was unlikely to have been aware of.

Dr Jaynes said it would have made her heart weaker, and she believed it caused a fatal problem while she was walking on the beach.

Coroner Grahame Short recorded a conclusion of death due to natural causes.