Questions remain over the death of Princess Diana’s fashion designer

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A FASHION designer, who created many of Princess Diana’s iconic outfits, died in hospital after being found unconscious at her home in Brightling.

Catherine Ismail, known professionally as Catherine Walker, was taken to the Conquest Hospital on September 10, 2010 after a friend and neighbour called the emergency services, an inquest heard on Wednesday.

Mrs Ismail, 65, who designed clothing for a string of high profile women throughout her career, was living in south-west London, but often spent weekends at her house in Brightling.

Neighbour Mary Cox told the inquest that Mrs Ismail’s husband Sayeed had phoned her on the morning of September 10, after being unable to reach his wife.

She said: “I got the keys to the house and went back with my son. I found her on the bed completely unconscious.”

There was evidence that she may have taken some tablets, and there was later found to be traces of sedatives including Diazepam in her blood.

However following her death the original blood samples were not available for analysis.

Mrs Ismail had previously battled with breast and endometrial cancer, and suffered from continuing symptoms of pain, which had not been alleviated by prescription medication.

In February 2009, she had attempted to take her own life with an overdose of the sedative medication that she was prescribed on an ongoing basis as a sleeping aid.

However she later admitted this had been a cry for help.

She did not regain consciousness after being taken to hospital, and died on September 23, from multiple organ failure.

Coroner Alan Craze said: “There is no evidence as to her intention and crucially, there is no evidence that proves she has died of an overdose of tablets.”

An open verdict was recorded.