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Depressed woman died after taking a ‘cocktail of pills’

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: December 07, 2012

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AN Abbots Bromley woman with a history of depression died after swallowing a cocktail of pills, an inquest has heard.

Geraldine Sweeting, of Alfred Lyons Close, died on August 29 at Burton’s Queen’s Hospital after taking a mixture of prescribed and pain relief tablets the day after her wedding anniversary party.

Her husband Michael told the inquest at Burton Town Hall that the 51-year-old had been enjoying a party at their home to celebrate their 28th wedding anniversary on August 26.

He said: “The celebration went very well. I have no idea why she wanted to harm herself. I have spoken to people from the party and they said the same.

“Geraldine was always very caring and wanted to make sure people were having a good night and were happy.

“Everyone said she was the same that night as she wanted to make sure everyone was enjoying themselves and was her normal bubbly self.”

The inquest heard how Mr Sweeting found his wife in a chair in the study surrounded by empty packets of tablets.

Coroner’s officer Stephanie Mason said toxicology tests from an initial blood sample found a number of different kinds of medication in small doses including naproxen, ibuprofen and paracetamol.

There was also 59mg of alcohol in her system from the gin and tonics she had drunk the previous evening.

Mrs Sweeting was known to the mental health trust after receiving treatment for her depression over six months, which included eight psychological sessions.

She made progress during the sessions and had been happy with the service.

According to Mrs Sweeting’s GP practice, in Schoolhouse Lane, Abbots Bromley, she had suffered from a ‘depressive disorder’ for several years.

Miss Mason added her family had no idea of her intentions to harm herself and she had not left a message or note.

Staffordshire Police had also looked into the circumstances of her death and found there was no suspicious circumstance or third party involvement.

South Staffordshire coroner Andrew Haigh said he believed the drugs had worked together to have a fatal effect.

He recorded that Mrs Sweeting died from cardio-respiratory failure, multiple drug overdose resulting in multiple organ failure.

Mr Haigh said he could not be sure it was suicide beyond all reasonable doubt so recorded a verdict of self-administered drink and medication.

He said to Mr Sweeting: “I would like to convey my sincere sympathy to you and your family.

“No-one expected this to happen and I am so sorry it did after your anniversary.”

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