Open verdict recorded on overdose mum

A MIDDLE-aged mother who died of an overdose of co-codamol and paracetamol would not have killed herself deliberately, her half-sister told an inquest into the death.

Carolyn Hunt, 59, died at her flat in Hyde Gardens, Eastbourne, on November 5 last year and was found in her bed by police.

The divorced reflexologist, a mother of one, had been left with depression and post traumatic stress disorder following a divorce earlier in her life.

She died with a seriously toxic blood level of morphine and a potentially fatal blood level of co-codamol, medication containing both codeine and paracetamol.

A toxicologist concluded she had taken more paracetamol on top of this, leaving her with a blood level of paracetamol which was three times that needed to cause a fatal overdose.

A statement from Ms Hunt's GP, read aloud in court, said the only drugs prescribed to her since she registered with the Lighthouse Practice surgery in July, had been sleeping pills.

The GP said she had a history of depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress.

Her half-sister, Hilary Frias del Rio, was her closest relative, with her son, who she missed, living in Australia with his family.

Mrs Frias del Rio said Ms Hunt had been divorced 18 to 20 years ago and was fragile in her personal relationships.

She had abused alcohol and used retail therapy to cope, leaving her short of money and with financial worries.

She had stopped taking medication for her depression but seemed more positive after having done so.

Mrs Frias del Rio said she was confident her sister, who left no suicide note, had not killed herself as she had never expressed any desire to harm herself or end her life.

Coroner Alan Craze said, "There is no way any of the evidence gets anywhere near proving this to be a suicide and I rule that out."

He said it could have been the case that Ms Hunt had begun taking pills, become drowsy and mistakenly carried on taking them - but with no evidence this was just speculation.

The insufficient evidence led him to record an open verdict.