Pensioner was worried about being a burden — (The Sentinel)

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The Sentinel

Posted: July 12, 2013


A PENSIONER died after taking a fatal overdose of painkillers, an inquest heard.

Lydia Clulow, aged 86, from Westwood Park Avenue, Leek, was found to have a toxic level of Paracetamol in her system after her body was found at her home on Monday, July 16 last year.

An inquest at North Staffordshire Coroners’ Court, Hartshill, yesterday heard how the mother-of-one had suffered bouts of depression and had attempted suicide twice previously.

She had been suffering from pain in her legs and back and was taking medication for depression and to help her sleep.

However, North Staffordshire Coroner Ian Smith said he could not be sure Mrs Clulow intended to kill herself.

He ruled the cause of death to be liver failure due to Paracetamol toxicity.

Mrs Clulow’s daughter-in-law Gill Hulme said: “She would often say she had had enough of life, but we never thought she would do anything about it again.

“She was lonely and craved company, but didn’t want to be a burden to anyone.”

Her son Mark Clulow, aged 47, told the inquest his mother seemed ‘calm’ in the days before her death.

He said: “I popped round to do her shopping for her a few days before she died.

“Usually I stay afterwards for a cup of tea, but she kept telling me I should get off and she was happy to have her shopping. Looking back I don’t know why I didn’t just stay, but she insisted.

“It was nice to see her a bit more like her usual self after she had been so low.”

Mrs Clulow had been receiving visits from Community Psychiatric Nurse Carole Matthias who told the inquest: “After our visits she told me she felt much better.

“We spoke about how she felt low and also about how much she cared for her family. She didn’t want to be a burden to them.

“But I was happy she didn’t intend to harm herself.”

Ms Matthias discovered Mrs Clulow’s body after receiving a call from her.

She said: “I came into work and there was a message on the phone from Lydia saying she felt unwell and would like to speak to someone.

“I rang her a few times throughout the morning but couldn’t get through, and when I popped round there was no answer.

“I looked through the patio door and could see she was on the sofa. I dialled 999 and went into the room with her.”

No note was left at the scene.

Mrs Hulme added: “It seems as though she had been taking more Paracetamol than usual because of the terrible pain she had been in.”

Recording an open verdict, Mr Smith said: “I cannot be sure Lydia meant to commit suicide, nor can I be sure her death was an accident.

“We do not know if she took the Paracetamol in one big dose, or over a period of time.”