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The Daily Mail
By SEBASTIAN MURPHY-BATES FOR MAILONLINE
- Elizabeth Stephenson took mirtazapine she’d been prescribed for depression
- She died aged 25 after what her mother told an inquest was a cry for attention
- But when Elizabeth’s ex received messages from her she was already dead
The mother (pictured) was on the sofa with her youngest child when she took the overdose
A mother-of-three took a fatal overdose of anti-depressants as her youngest lay asleep next to her on the sofa.
Elizabeth Stephenson had hoped to be found in time but was already dead when her ex-boyfriend was alerted to messages which sparked concern about her welfare.
The 25-year-old from Colne, Lancashire, had battled depression since the birth of her first child was found on the floor of her front room as her son was lying near her.
Tests shown she had taken the painkiller codeine, alcohol and mirtazapine she’d been prescribed for depression just days before her death.
Her mother Caroline Stephenson told the Burnley hearing that she did not believe her daughter meant to take her life.
‘I would put my life on it that she didn’t intentionally take her life,’ she said. ‘She lived in an alternative reality and loved to get her own way.
‘She was suffering from depression and was drinking far too much. She would go out and act in a completely bizarre way and the next day regret it. That happened a lot. She didn’t have an ordinary depression.
‘She would be fine for weeks and then hit rock bottom. She loved the children although she was completely disorganised. I knew we would always have to support her and we would pick up the pieces be it financially or mess she would get herself into.
‘That evening she was desperately trying to get the attention of somebody and it backfired. My grandson was asleep on the sofa that night and she would never have done that where the children could find her.
‘I think she took the tablets whilst extremely drunk and she sent a lot of messages. She took photos of the pills as well. I saw the empty packets when I went in. There were more tablets in the house she could’ve taken if it was intentional.
‘She accepted that she needed help. She would post messages online that she was getting a grip and that things were getting better. But she would make split-second decisions – she wouldn’t have taken her life intentionally.
‘She wouldn’t have done that especially not with her children there. She would drink too much. If she was in pain she would take four Co-Codamol instead of two.
‘She would’ve said goodbye to us as we are a very close family. She didn’t because she knew we would turn up for her. All the children are in the house and one of them was with her when we found her.’
Jessica Lee, a friend of Miss Stephenson said: ‘I would see her on most days. Recently she was a bit depressed but I saw her the day before she died and she seemed in good spirits and was happier than normal.
‘On Friday morning I got a message from her that was sent at about 12:55 AM. I saw it in the morning and contacted her ex-partner.
‘This has been a terrible shock. I knew she was struggling but didn’t expect it to end like that.
‘I knew she took some pills before. She said to me once ‘I took some pills last night but I woke up’ and laughed.
‘She was always really bubbly and bouncy but she was struggling underneath. The children were a positive influence on her but I know she struggled after having her first child.
‘Her problems had been recognised. I would help her where I could. When I saw her she said the tablets are working really well and she felt happy and relaxed but she was drinking every day.’
Coroner Richard Taylor recorded a narrative conclusion at today’s inquest into the death on March 9.
He said: ‘She had been suffering with depression although it is thought that the severity of her illness was not seen until her death.
‘On that day messages were received and her former partner was notified and went round to the house and the door was unlocked.
‘She was on the floor in the front room and her family attended. Evidence that there was some form of overdose was present and a number of tablets were taken.
‘She was a troubled young lady and was looking for assistance, and getting it. It has been a long haul for her and you tell me about her going to the doctors on Monday. She was given antidepressants but they can’t wave a magic wand over somebody unfortunately.
‘She had good friends and family around her but was overcome with this. You cannot believe she would have the intention to end her life. She was positive and bubbly otherwise. Messages were sent on the day but they were not terribly clear.’