THE devastated husband of a fell walker who plunged to her death has spoken of her final moments.
And, heartbroken David Ashworth defended his wife's decision to go searching for her missing son - saying she did what every loving mum would have done.
But, it was a move which led to her fatal fall and this week Mr Ashworth relived the nightmare of the horrific day which started as a happy family trip out - and ended in tragedy.
Mr Ashworth told an inquest how mum-of- three Carole Ashworth, 49, panicked as her teenage son Richard and his friend failed to meet him and his wife as arranged at the summit of 2,400ft high Harrison Stickle near Ambleside in the Lake District.
Mrs Ashworth, of Pinewood Drive, Accrington, became increasingly anxious about the boys who had taken a different route up the mountain.
The inquest in Kendal, heard that experienced fell-walker Mrs Ashworth lost her rationale and made the fateful decision to stray from the path to find Richard, 14, and his friend.
It was a course of action that led to her death, said South Cumbrian and Furness coroner Ian Smith.
But speaking to the Observer this week, Mr Ashworth defended his wife's bravery, saying: "I thought those comments of the coroner were irrelevant.
"Yes, she left the path because she was panicking but she was an experienced fell walker.
"She had been doing it for more than 20 years.
"She had all the proper equipment and would have survived longer than I would."
Mr Ashworth added: "Although the coroner's comments were irrelevant, telling fell walkers to remain calm is always good advice."
Mr Ashworth, 59, a retired teacher, said: "This nightmare has been going on for months and I'm pleased it's finally over.
"It was very difficult to attend the inquest. We didn't think we would have to sit through the pathologist's evidence, it was very traumatic.
"Richard doesn't talk about the death, but he is very resilient."
A post-mortem revealed Mrs Ashworth died from head injuries and had also broken her ribs and legs.
The former shorthand typist and clerk at Bury Brothers accountants in Accrington, was found the following day after a frantic search was launched by an RAF helicopter and mountain rescue teams.
A verdict of accidental death was recorded.