Cilla Black ‘died from head injury after fall’

Cilla Black was laid to rest at St Mary's Church in Woolton. Picture: PA
Cilla Black was laid to rest at St Mary's Church in Woolton. Picture: PA
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Cilla Black died from a “traumatic” head injury following a fall at her home in Spain, the inquest into her death heard yesterday.

Andre Rebello recorded the official verdict of accidental death at a brief hearing at Liverpool Coroner’s Court, calling her a “daughter of Liverpool”.

She was a daughter of Liverpool, loved by all in Liverpool

Coroner Andre Rebello

Black’s three sons, Ben, Robert and Jack, sat in court for the 15-minute hearing.

Mr Rebello, the City of Liverpool coroner, confirmed details of the showbiz star’s death at her villa in Spain, on 1 August.

He referred to Black using her real name, Priscilla Maria Veronica Willis, and in conclusion said the medical cause of death was a traumatic head injury caused by the fall.

Addressing her sons, he added: “She was your mum and her death is a private personal matter and we have all got one mum.

“It is right that you grieve and remember her.”

Mr Rebello continued: “Far more important is that you celebrate her life, but your mum was far more than just your mum.

“She was a daughter of Liverpool and she was a celebrity and loved by all in Liverpool and that will be part of her abiding memory and memorial.

“But you will have personal, private memories of her as mum.

“It is those memories of the ordinary things she did, normal family events, the love shared and the love given, that must be her abiding memory, not just for this generation, but for each born in the future.”

Earlier, Mr Rebello confirmed details of the circumstances of Black’s death following the investigation by medical and legal authorities in Spain.

He said Black was born in Liverpool on 27 May, 1943, her maiden name was White and she died at her home having been found by one of her sons, on 1 August at her villa in Estepona on the Costa del Sol.

Mr Rebello said: “I understand Mrs Willis was discovered by her son Robert at 5:30pm on 1 August this year.

“She was on the terrace leading from her bedroom at her home.

“She had fallen and she had struck her head, and this traumatic head injury which had ensued had resulted in her death. She was certified as having died by the paramedic at 6:10pm on August first. The fall itself was un-witnessed.”

The inquest proceedings were cancelled an hour before they were due to begin on Thursday after officials realised the entertainer’s body was not in the city, and therefore not in the required legal jurisdiction. Mr Rebello, formally recording the inquest verdict and legally releasing her body for burial, added: “The thrust of the evidence clearly points to only one conclusion, she died from accidental death.

“She was a singer and widow of Robert Willis, a manager.”

Black’s sons left without commenting to reporters after the hearing finished. Their father, Bobby Willis died in 1999. Her funeral will take place in Liverpool next Thursday at St Mary’s Church, Woolton. She will then be laid to rest in a private ceremony at Allerton Cemetery alongside her parents. She made a posthumous comeback to the UK music charts last week with her compilation album The Very Best Of, a testament to her enduring appeal.

Black first found fame as a singer in the Merseybeat era of the 1960s, with a string of top ten hits including chart-toppers Anyone Who Had a Heart and You’re My World.

Meanwhile, a plot to burgle Black’s Buckinghamshire home has been foiled.

A professionally cut circular hole was discovered in the perimeter fence of her Denham home.

Robert Willis, her eldest son, said yesterday: “I cannot believe someone would stoop so low at a time like this. It’s inconceivable. Thankfully it was discovered in time.”