A GRANDMOTHER collapsed and died on holiday after hitting her head on railings.

Now a coroner has criticised Greek authorities for their investigation into the death of Mary Hunter.

The 63-year-old, from Boldon Colliery, South Tyneside, collapsed at her apartment on the island of Santorini, banging her head on the railings of her balcony.

A friend tried to get help, but the grandmother-of-five choked on her own vomit.

At the inquest into her death, South Tyneside coroner Terence Carney hit out at the investigation into the incident.

Mrs Hunter and her friend, Pat Harding, had spent the first evening of their holiday enjoying a few drinks on their balcony, but as she stood to leave at about 10pm, she fell backwards on to the marble floor.

Mrs Harding put a pillow under her head and went for help.

But, when she returned, she found Mrs Hunter had been sick while lying on her back.

Pathologist Dr Kenneth Pollard said Mrs Hunter had suffered a fractured skull but her death was caused by choking.

A post-mortem investigation, carried out in Greece on July 5, was incomplete, and when Mrs Hunter's body was brought home it was too late to carry out further tests.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Mr Carney said: "It is clear Mrs Hunter did not die as a result of the fall - she was still alive for some time.

"But often when an incident occurs abroad, the information we obtain is somewhat limited.

"In this case, it has to be said that the evidence of the police inquiry is effectively non-existent and other matters have been somewhat unusual in the extreme."

After the hearing, Mrs Hunter's daughter, Kay Pillans, said: "There are lots of unanswered questions, but at least now this is over we can let her rest in peace."