THE DEATH of an RAF sergeant who fell head-first down a mountain was heard at an inquest today [November 11] detailing how she was found eight years after going missing.

Jacqueline Tennant, disappeared while hiking in the Tramuntana mountains on the Spanish island of Majorca on October 9, 2007.

The 45-year-old, from Lower Earley, Reading, had taken a year out from her RAF duties.

A major search for Ms Tennant was launched when she failed to turn up for work but she was not found until eight years later when her bones were discovered alongside a backpack, watch and phone.

Dr Ashley Fegan-Earl, a Home Office pathologist, revealed that Ms Tennant had suffered fractures to her skull, arm, foot and multiple other areas of her body, which he said was consistent with a fall from a height.

He said: “The fact that there are a number of fractures to different parts of the body would, in my assessment, be more consistent with a fall as compared, for example, with an assault.

“Certainly assaults to the head can produce significant fractures but it would be unlikely to see fractures in bones to the foot. In a tumble, different parts of the body can be damaged.

“I would suggest that on the balance of probabilities the fractures are consistent with those multiple injuries which follow a fall from a height.”

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However, the pathologist could not rule out foul play, telling the Coroner's Court in Woking, Surrey, how it was entirely possible Ms Tennant had been pushed.

He added: “A simple push is practically impossible to prove. We are left with bones here, so I cannot take that matter any further.

“I understand that the area she was found in was not often visited. I do not know the reason for that and I do not really want to speculate but I suspect it could be due to dangerous terrain.”

Dr Fegan-Earl added it was possible Ms Tennant had deliberately jumped - although she had no medical history of depression - or that she had suffered a medical episode, although she had no known health conditions and was described as healthy.

Ms Tennant had been taking a career break from the RAF, where she was a sergeant, and working At the First Choice holiday firm in C’an Picafort, a beach resort on the island’s east coast.

Her remains were found next to her backpack with her ID documents, on August 24, 2015, between the town of Lluc and Pollenca.

The remains were spotted by a walker who found them in a 'remote' area - 90 minutes off the path.

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Her sister Monique, who had campaigned for information on her whereabouts and travelled to Mallorca several times for the search attended the inquest today.

She said: "What is niggling me is the fact that she was trained. She had been in the RAF for quite a while, we are told to fall in a particular way, to not fall on your hands. I am just wondering if you would consider why she would have fallen head-first.”

Breaking down in tears, Monique Tennant said: “Every time I went out there, I thought I would find her so I am grateful that she did not suffer. According to the pathologist it would have been swift.”

Ms Tennant, who was single, had been intending to return to the RAF where a place was waiting for her, her sister said, but she was on a gap year or sabbatical because she wanted to learn more about swimming and diving while she taught children.

Her sister said her sibling, who was cautious and responsible, did not make friends easily and spent much of her time during the eight months she was in Majorca on her own, cycling and hiking.

Monique had continued travelling to Majorca to search for her sister, initially having her flights paid for by Ms Tennant’s employer, who she said was very good.

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Walking along the hiking routes, she described to the coroner how she, her husband and volunteers would systematically diverge from the recommended paths, hoping they would come across somewhere Ms Tennant might have had an accident.

In August 2015 she was contacted by police in Croydon who told her a doctor in Majorca had found remains while out walking to meet his son for a hike.

Recalling visiting the scene, Monique told the inquest: “The area that the remains were found was uncharted territory as far as I was concerned. Even the police officers wanted to stop and ask if I wanted to go any further because it was treacherous. We came away with cuts and bruises.”

Speaking of her interactions with the authorities involved in the search, Monique said: “There was not as much help as I would have liked. Maybe it would not have taken me 10 years later, but I am so grateful for any help I had along the way and although I was suspicious of this doctor, I was so grateful that he came across her because many people are lost and their family never find them.

“The question of how she died is still there.”

The inquest, presided over by assistant coroner for Surrey, Jessica Russell-Mitra, continues.