A pensioner plunged to her death after leaning out of her bedroom window for a cigarette, an inquest heard.

Smoker Elena Brennan, 79, died from the massive head injury she sustained after falling 20 feet onto a concrete ramp beneath her second storey flat at Coventry Hall in Polworth Road, Streatham.

The former dinner lady, originally from Naples, Italy, was discovered by a private ambulance driver on the morning of July 13, 2011, still in her dressing gown, Southwark Coroner's Court heard yesterday (January 4).

When her home was searched, the bedroom window was wide open and police discovered an ashtray and cigarette lighter on the window sill. A footstool she had been standing on was nearby.

Neighbours told officers that Mrs Brennan often smoked out of the window in her flat.

In a statement read to the court, paramedic David Walker said he arrived at the sheltered accommodation shortly after 6am to find a stream of blood “flowing” from the pensioner’s head.

“I arrived and found the patient lying face down on a sloping concrete pathway leading from the entrance of Coventry Hall,” he said.

“There was a lot of blood clearly visible flowing down the pathway coming from the patient’s head.

“She had suffered a massive cranial injury to the front of her head.”

Mrs Brennan, who died from the head injury, also suffered bruising to her right lower leg and a couple of fractured ribs.

Detective Constable Robert Cross told the court he had interviewed a number of her neighbours after the incident and said a large pile of cigarette butts was discovered beneath her window.

He added the window did not have a safety catch to stop it opening fully and said the police had ruled out any suspicious circumstances surrounding her death.

The coroner recorded a verdict of misadventure.