A TEACHING assistant accidentally hanged herself when a sex game went wrong, an inquest heard.

Andrea Crossfield, aged 44, was dressed as a schoolgirl when she was found dead at the home she shared with her boyfriend in Radcliffe.

She had a belt around her neck when she was found hanged from a bedroom door on Saturday, September 6, 2008, Rochdale Coroner’s court was told.

The mother of three had been involved in a “strange” and “unnatural” relationship with her partner since they were set up on a blind date just over a year earlier, the inquest heard.

Ms Crossfield’s partner, Gavin Openshaw, was arrested on suspicion on manslaughter following her death but was released and cleared of any involvement.

The inquest heard from Ms Crossfield’s devastated family who described her as a “proud” woman who would not have intended to kill herself.

Her youngest daughter, Jade Crossfield, aged 21, said: “She confided in me that he had made her dress up in different outfits.

“She was respected by teachers, pupils and parents and everyone she met. I can’t accept for one minute that she would ruin her reputation by taking her own life dressed as she was.”

Ms Crossfield’s father, Graham Fleet, aged 74, said: “The way she was dressed, I am told, she would never have wanted anyone to find her like that.”

Coroner Simon Nelson recorded an open verdict and said the evidence suggested Ms Crossfield could have been involved in consensual sexual activity when she died.

Ms Crossfield was as a Year Six teaching assistant at Hollins Grundy Primary School, Bury, and had recently moved to Bealey Avenue, Radcliffe.

Mr Openshaw was unemployed and often drank up to a litre of vodka a day, the inquest heard.

During the police investigation, a noose made out of scarf material was found hanging from a loft hatch. A note in Ms Crossfield’s handwriting was also found in the house which, the court heard, said although she had been feeling stressed, she did not have the “guts” to kill herself because she loved her family so much.

Ms Crossfield had recently been showing signs of stress and had not returned to school after the summer break.