Fatal overdose was accidental

A 34-year-old Netherton woman died by accident after she mixed painkillers and anti-depressants with alcohol, an inquest heard.

Julia Marie Wood, of Highfield Road, was found dead in a house in Lupset following an argument with her family on November 6, last year.

A post mortem revealed she had alcohol, the anti-depressant 0fluoxetine, and morphine in her system when she died.

Wakefield Coroner David Hinchliff told the inquest, which was concluded last Friday, that the amount of drugs and alcohol she had taken were not enough to kill her on their own but mixing them together had proven fatal.

He said: “The level was probably slightly higher than a therapeutic dose and I believe it was the combination of that with alcohol that caused Julia’s death.”

The court heard how Miss Wood was in a long-term relationship with Gary Towning, who lived with her and their son, Christopher Towning.

Before her death Miss Wood had become friends with a man who worked with her son in Ossett.

In a written statement Sergeant Andrew Welbourn said: “Christopher came back suspicious that their relationship might have developed. When he returned home he found his mother with this man and it was obvious they had been drinking.”

An argument broke out, resulting in the police taking Miss Wood and the man to his mother’s home in Lupset, where they carried on drinking until about 2.30am.

But when he woke up at about 8.30am the following day he found Miss Wood unconscious with blue lips and called 999.

Paramedics were unable to revive her and she was pronounced dead at 9.01am.

Although Miss Wood, who was a senior support worker, was on medication for back problems and depression, the coroner heard she often turned to alcohol when she was stressed.

The inquest heard that on previous occasions Miss Wood had been taken to hospital after accidentally overdosing while drunk.

At the house police found empty packets of morphine painkillers, but Mr Hinchliff ruled out suicide.

Recording a verdict of misadventure, he said: “She had been drinking, but she would have known to take her medication and would not have been quite as careful with the amount and it is the combination of the painkilling tablets and alcohol that has sadly caused her to die.

“Nor do I construe that she has deliberately ended her life.”