A mother-of-three died when she leaned out of a window to smoke a cigarette and got her head stuck in the railings.
Kimmy Varma, 64, was unable to free herself and died from asphyxiation.
She had pulled on the curtains so heavily in a bid to pull herself up that some of the screws had come loose from the rail, an inquest heard.
Mrs Varma is thought to have died about two hours before the alarm was raised by a passing jogger who saw her head sticking through the ornamental railings.
Her estranged husband Anil Varma, 63, said he believed she had leaned through the railings to have a cigarette because she was fastidious about keeping her flat, in Cheltenham, Glos, clean and smoke free.
"She had been drinking and she could not handle alcohol very well," he said. "It was such an unusual thing to happen and a real tragedy for the family."
Her family said she had often leaned through the railings to smoke.
The railing through which Kimmy Varma is believed to have pushed her head in order to smoke a cigarette
Mrs Varma was listed as a director of a family business, Just a Splash, set up by Mr Varma, that sells alcohol in pouches for cooking.
Born in Los Angeles, she studied in India before moving to the UK. Her first grandchild was born in January.
Coroner's officer Terry Onions told the inquest that the ambulance service was alerted to the tragedy by a member of the public who was running along the road and noticed what appeared to be a female wedged in some decorative railings at the window of a top floor flat.
"Police and paramedics attended and found her her head through the railings compressing her neck,” he said,
Pc Jason Parker said he used his “enforcer” to break down the main door of the block and then the front door of Mrs Varma's home.
"I went into the living room and pulled the curtains and saw that it was a female," he added.
"Her head was lodged between a vertical bar and another one which arced to the left. Rigor mortis had already set in.
"I tried to lift her off the railings but she was too heavy and her neck was stuck in the groove in the railings. "
He said he was then helped by another officer and a paramedic to lift her body and free her from the railings. The paramedic estimated she had been dead for a couple of hours.
Pc Parker said some of the curtain rail screws had been pulled out and it looked as if Mrs Varma had tried to pull herself up by holding onto the curtain.
A report from South West Ambulance Service said they received the 999 call at 9.26am that day and were there within 12 minutes. Mrs Varma was confirmed dead at 9.41 am.
Pathologist Dr Chandima de Cates said Mrs Varma died from “positional asphyxia” after she had been drinking alcohol and had taken medication including Solpadeine painkillers.
Her blood alcohol level was 132mgs and the level in urine was 201 mgs. The legal limit blood alcohol limit for a driver is 80mgs and in urine 107mgs.
The alcohol may have affected her ability to move position to free her airways, the doctor believed.
The pathology report said that antidepressant and insomnia drugs found in her blood were at normal therapeutic level.
The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.