A stewardess found dead on a £6 million luxury yacht fractured her spine when she fell down a step to her cabin after a night out, an inquest heard.
Rebecca Boyle, 32, of Burghclere, Hampshire, was discovered the next morning on board the La Polonia, which was moored in the Italian Riviera port of Imperia.
Ms Boyle had been out drinking vodka with a friend on the night of England’s World Cup victory over Colombia on July 3 before she was escorted to her cabin.
The next morning Ms Boyle, who had only been working on the boat for a week, was found in an ‘unnatural position’ with catastrophic injuries in the cabin where she slept alone.
Rebecca Boyle, 32, of Burghclere, Hampshire, was found dead the next morning on board the La Polonia, which was moored in the Italian Riviera port of Imperia
Italian authorities investigated and found the cause of her death was serious traumatic injury and fracture of the spine.
Coroner Heidi Connor told Berkshire Coroner’s Court: ‘This is a particularly sad and tragic death.
‘At around 7.10am on July 4, emergency services reported the presence of a dead body on board La Polonia. A member of the crew said someone fell ill on board.
‘Once on board the leisure vessel, a female body was found lying on the ground, belly downwards, wearing a swimsuit.’
A crew member discovered Ms Boyle (pictured) with her head twisted into a unnatural position after they heard her phone alarm ringing and went to wake her up, the hearing was told
A crew member said that in the early hours of July 4 crew heard the slamming of doors and a loud thud.
A phone alarm was heard repeatedly ringing in her Cabin, and her body was then discovered.
Speaking of the night before, the crew member said: ‘In my opinion she probably was drunk.
‘Her eyes kept closing, she had difficulty speaking. She had red eyes following a binge.’
Emergency personnel were seen carrying Ms Boyle’s body from the boat after the tragedy
The captain of La Polonia told the inquest in a statement he had previously warned Ms Boyle not to binge drink again after he had discovered she had a hangover.
Jonty Brits, a deckhand on board the Dynamic, moored alongside Ms Boyle’s boat, was the last person to see her alive.
He said he had been into Le Grotte bar on shore with crew members to watch the football and had returned to find Rebecca and a friend drinking vodka.
Mr Brits had invited them aboard his yacht and they had gone to the upper outside deck and spent time in the jacuzzi before he had accompanied Rebecca back to her room on La Polonia because she was drunk.
La Polonia is a 150ft yacht that can accommodate 10 guests as well the crew of seven people – and costs £150,000 a week to charter
He told the inquest: ‘We were going to watch the match at around 6pm with the captain and the cook. Rebecca and a colleague were drinking on the quay. Rebecca said she would come with us at around 9pm but she never came.
‘We arrived back on board after the match at 11pm. Rebecca was still drinking on the quay and was clearly drunk. I asked my captain for permission to bring the two people on board our vessel and we went in the jacuzzi.
‘Rebecca was very drunk, so I decided to accompany her back to her boat. I accompanied Rebecca and watched her go on board.’
A post mortem examination on her body found Rebecca, who lived for a time in Ladbroke Grove, west London, was in a state of ‘psycho-physical alteration’ at the time of incident.
A report showed her room had steep steps in it which divided the room into two levels. Her body was found in an unnatural position in contact with a piece of furniture.
The position of her arm suggested she had been unable to stop the blow to her body and the report concluded: ‘It is likely that the young woman’s reflexes were altered.’
Rebecca’s father, Michael Boyle, from Burghclere, said: ‘We were informed by the Italian authorities that Rebecca fell on a flight of four or five steps in her cabin and broke her neck.
‘Her mother and I both spoke to her on July 2 and she seemed upbeat, enjoying her new job. We had no reason to expect what was shortly to occur.’
Rebecca’s mother Laura Boyle, 57, is a well-known psychic.
Mrs Connor recorded a verdict of accidental death. She passed her condolences to both parents and said: ‘I record my sincere condolences for the tragic loss of such a young, beautiful woman.’
La Polonia is a 150ft yacht that can accommodate 10 guests as well the crew of seven people – and costs £150,000 a week to charter.