Events manager and mother of two, 58, who turned to vodka as she panicked over £140 repair bill to her car died from drugs and alcohol but didn’t kill herself, coroner rules
- Tina Drew was less than twice the drink limit when she died at home in Cheshire
- Post mortem found prescription drugs within a therapeutic range in her system
- Her inquest heard Ms Drew had concerns about paying off a £140 car repair bill
- Coroner Peter Sigee said there was no evidence she intended to take her life
An events manageress died after she binged on vodka whilst struggling to ‘process’ a £140 repair bill to her car.
Mother of two Tina Drew, 58, had accidentally crashed the vehicle after it was mistakenly left in gear and hit a wheelie bin as she switched on the ignition.
But she began to worry about the estimated cost of the repairs as she was out of work due to illness. On one occasion she was even reduced to tears as she told a friend about how she could pay the bill adding: ‘I’ve had enough – I’m sick of everything.’
Mother of two Tina Drew, 58, accidentally crashed her car into a wheelie bin causing £140 of damage which she was concerned she would be unable to repay
Last March 22, Miss Drew, from Grappenhall, near Warrington, Cheshire was found dead in bed with packs of prescriptions pills strewn across the bedside table and the letter outlining the cost of her car repairs nearby.
A partially empty bottle of vodka was also recovered.
Tests showed Miss Drew had taken four different types of painkilling tablets plus sleeping pills. Whist the amount of alcohol and medication Miss Drew took was not toxic, it exacerbated an ongoing liver condition.
At an inquest a coroner said Miss Drew was not able to ‘rationalise’ the issue of the car repairs bill but ruled out death by suicide.
Self employed Miss Drew had helped organise weddings, conferences and corporate hospitalilty events at race meetings but was taking prescription medication for Fibromyalgia – a long-term medical condition that causes pain all over the body.
At the time of her death, Ms Drew was taking medication for Fibromyalgia
Despite forging a successful career in events planning her illness eventually left her unable to work and she began to suffer from depression.
In a statement read to the Warrington hearing, Miss Drew’s son Myles said: ‘Her condition caused her to suffer a lot of pain particularly in her joints and made her very tired. I think she had bipolar but had never been formally diagnosed with that.
‘She loved her new house and was very positive about living there. Her mood seemed to improve during the two years before her death but she was not able to work due to her medical issues.
‘She was excited about a business that I was setting up at that time and was coming round to help.
‘Over the weekend, she came to visit but someone had left her car in gear so when she turned the ignition it jumped forward and damage was caused to the front of her car.
‘I saw my mum on the Sunday took some food round for her, she was still upbeat and talking about plans for her future. But over the next few days she was upset about the state her car was in. It was fair to say she could not process it.’
Next-door neighbour Lilian Macmaster said: ‘I saw her late in the morning of 20 March when she came round for a coffee and a chat. I saw Tina again at about 9.45 that night and I could tell she may be under the influence of alcohol.
‘I was concerned and saw she had been crying, she was holding a bottle of vodka. She was upset and emotional and said she had enough. I gave some emotional support and she said she would be fine, she said she was worried about the damage done to her car and how much it would cost to repair.
‘I told her not to do anything daft and she said she wouldn’t but she said she was sick of everything.
‘The next day I was ill so was unable to see Tina that day, I went out the next day and went to call on her, I knocked on the door and had no reply I was able to let myself into the back garden. I knocked on the bedroom window but had no reply.
‘I had a key so I walked in and found it was a slight mess in the kitchen which was out of character for Tina, I went to her bedroom and found her.’
An inquest found Ms Drew was less than twice the drink drive limit and had prescription medication within a therapeutic range in her system at the time of her death
She added: ‘I had known her for about three years prior to her death. She spoke with a cockney accent and was very willing and able to speak her mind. She was very kind-hearted. She was someone who loved and cared for everybody and would happily do things to look after other people without expecting anything else in return. She loved her children and was very proud of them..’
Police confirmed there were no suspicious circumstances. Miss Drew had her mobile phone in her hands and her earphones connected when she was found as if she had gone to bed listening to music.
Consultant pathologist Dr Al-Jafari recorded the cause of death as ‘alcohol and drug induced severe fatty change of the liver’. But he said: ‘An examination of the body revealed no gross abnormality. In view of the findings, it is highly likely that the severe fatty change of the liver that was induced by alcohol and drugs caused a metabolic imbalance that led to Tina’s death.’
A toxicology report Miss Drew had 145 milligrams of alcohol per mililitre of blood in her system. The drink driving limit in blood is 80mg. She also had traces codeine, amitriptyline, naproxen, paracetamol and benzodiazepines in her system.
Toxicologist Christopher Madden said: ‘The concentration of the medication consumed is within the therapeutic range and there was consumption of alcohol prior to death.
‘The effect depends on the persons tolerance, but would be consistent with drunkenness and exaggerated emotional responses. That concentration of alcohol is substantially below the level which is typically below the level that could poison.’
Recording a conclusion of an alcohol and drug related death, coroner Peter Sigee said: ‘Tina had been happy in her new home and in that community, and had been house proud in her new property. She had been positive about her son’s new business and was looking forward to helping it.
‘There had been an unfortunate incident where her car had been left in gear where it moved forward and collided with a bin and caused some damage to her car, it also left her with minor injuries. She was concerned as to how she would afford those repairs, she was not able to rationalise and be assured that this was an issue that would resolve itself.
‘One concern that police had when they attended the property was the empty packets of medication and a bottle of vodka that were found. The toxicology tests found that there as an elevated amount of alcohol in her blood which indicated she would have been drunk at the time of her death but not enough to be of a toxic levels. Medication was present in the blood at but not at toxic levels.
‘It seems that the effects of medication and alcohol over a period of time would have caused these changes in the liver. I do not find that this is a case in which she took her own life and reject the finding of suicide.’
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