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North Devon Journal
A WOMAN died on the sofa at her home in Sticklepath after taking drugs which combined with the alcohol already in her system. An inquest at Bideford Town Hall last week heard how Jean Morrish, who was 51 when she died in August last year, died as a result of amitriptyline medication reacting with alcohol.
The court heard from Hazel Roberts, Mrs Morrish’s mother, who said her daughter had been a “typical young girl” and she had heard from her infrequently after she left home to start a family.
In a statement read in court Mrs Roberts said her daughter had started drinking in 1982 when she moved to Bristol. Her daughter’s drinking had got worse over the years, she said, and Mrs Morrish also suffered from depression.
She said Mrs Morrish had “a heart of gold” and would “do anything for anyone” but also said she had always been “an attention seeker, even as a child”.
Mrs Morrish had a history of impulsively overdosing on drugs when drunk and overdosed twice in 2011 and twice in 2010, the court heard.
She also had a “complex mental health history”, a statement from her GP, Dr Louise Bond, said.
A statement from her partner of 12 years, Ian Morrish, detailed how on the day she died the pair had woken as normal around 7am.
Mr Morrish went out to do the weekly food shop and collect Mrs Morrish’s medication, which she took for epilepsy, Crohn’s disease, post traumatic stress disorder, asthma and depression.
After Mr Morrish returned the couple stayed at home and Mrs Morrish drank six cans of lager and some Martini during the day.
Mr Morrish left her snoring on the sofa while he did some chores but after half an hour noticed she had stopped snoring.
He acted immediately to prop her up and called an ambulance after noticing her lips were blue.
While waiting for the ambulance Mr Morrish found a small notepad on the sofa which had a note written by Mrs Morrish on it, which said she was “going to step out of it” and asked Mr Morrish to look after her family.
A post-mortem report found Mrs Morrish’s death was due to amitriptyline toxicity, exacerbated by high alcohol levels.
The report detailed how Mrs Morrish had 229 milligrams of alcohol in one litre of blood.
Coroner John Tomalin said he would not record a verdict of suicide though.
“For me to do so I have to be sure there’s no other explanation and given her past history of overdoses and cries for help I don’t think that’s right,” he said.
“Jean died from a combination of an amitriptyline overdose and alcohol. Why she took the medication remains unclear.”