Eastbourne woman, 44, died of an overdose

Scene of the inquest: Eastbourne Magistrates' Court
Scene of the inquest: Eastbourne Magistrates' Court

A 44-year-old woman whose body was found at her home in Eastbourne died of an overdose, an inquest has heard.

Anne Elkin was found dead at her flat in Clifford House, Burlington Place, on July 31, 2015, after her relatives became concerned having not heard from her in a few days.

A post-mortem examination and toxicology report found low levels of pharmaceutical drugs, which Ms Elkin had been taking to control her anxiety. However, Propranolol, a beta blocker, was found in excessive amounts. While on its own, Propoanolol does not usually lead to fatal toxicity, the toxicologist felt it had done so in this case when combined with other drugs.

The inquest, held at Eastbourne Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, January 21, heard Ms Elkin was receiving regular treatment at St Mary’s House, in Eastbourne, for her anxiety.

Dr Argiriu, consultant psychiatrist, Vicky Clarke, community mental health nurse, and Dr Grimes, Ms Elkin’s GP, told the court her death came as a ‘complete surprise’ as she was showing no signs of suicidal intent and was making plans for the future .

The court also heard how Ms Elkin had tried to take her own life two years ago, but had phoned an ambulance. After this, she had told her family she wouldn’t try to commit suicide again as she realised the distress it would cause.

Coroner Alan Craze recorded an open verdict, as he did not have enough evidence to come to a conclusion of suicide. The absence of an event that may have triggered a suicide, and a lack of notes or messages left for her family, cast doubts in Mr Craze’s mind as to whether Ms Elkin had intended to take her own life.

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