Open verdict on death of mum

A DEPRESSED mother who died after taking prescription drugs and alcohol may or may not have intended to kill herself, a coroner has ruled.

An inquest heard how Sylvia Croasdell (45) suffered a massive heart attack on April 8 having consumed alcohol, painkillers and anti-depressants.

Treated for a paracetamol overdose, she suffered brain damage, pneumonia and was on life support at Kettering General Hosptial before her family decided to withdraw treatment. She died on April 13.

The inquest at Kettering Magistrates’ Court on Thursday last week heard Mrs Croasdell’s mental health had deteriorated after she separated from her disc jockey husband Adrian and children Charlotte and Will.

In October last year she set fire to possessions in the family home in Elm Drive, Harborough, while her children were away. She was charged with arson, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a two year community service order.

She subsequently moved, first to her sister’s house in St Albans, and then to her parents in Wallsend, Tyne and Wear.

A statement from Dr Mark Westwood of Wallsend surgery was read at the inquest. He described her as a depressive alcoholic who talked of suicide and was taking the anti-depressant diazepam. He said: “I last saw her on March 21 and she was feeling very isolated from her family.”

Mrs Croasdell was having a long-distance relationship with Adrian Marlow, of Braybrooke, who described her in a statement as a “party girl” who liked a drink but always kept the family home immaculate.

On April 8, however, she had a heart attack while the pair were asleep in their bed. Mr Marlow said she had been in good spirits but had drunk six gin and tonics on that day and later complained of stomach pain.

Mr Marlow, who said he had hoped to set up home with his partner, later discovered pain killers and anti-depressants among her possessions.

He spoke at the inquest only to say: “She possibly intended to end her life, but I can’t be sure.”

Mrs Croasdell’s sister, Susan Henderson, of St Albans, said she had become depressed during problematic divorce proceedings three years ago.

Because of complications involving the release of the couple’s shared assets, she had no income or home and there were further issues involving the children.

But Mrs Henderson said her sister had been very positive about the future and added: “When I went through her belongings, it was clear that she had made very recent plans for the future.

“It certainly wasn’t clear that she had planned to do something like that [take an overdose].”

Consultant pathologist Dr Neshte Gorgees of Kettering General Hospital said high levels of paracetamol in her system (263mg) would not have been enough to give her a heart attack, unless mixed with a narcotic such as co-codamol.

But he said this was hard to tell because the post mortem was carried out six days after her death and no blood samples on her admission had been left, so it was ruled as a ‘possible’ drugs overdose.

At the end of the inquest, coroner Anne Pember said: “She had pneumonia and brain damage with a possible drugs overdose.

“She obviously took far too many tablets, but I’m not sure that I’m satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that she wished to end her life.

“But I can’t presume her death accidental. I therefore record an open verdict.”