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Recovering heroin addict found dead in bed by partner, inquest hears

PUBLISHED: 17:21 01 November 2013 | UPDATED: 17:21 01 November 2013

A recovering heroin addict had been trying to turn around her life in the months before she died, an inquest heard today.

Joanne Manning died aged 48 from respiratory failure and a toxic cocktail of methadone, anti-depressants and other drugs at home in Ilford in December.

She was found in bed at her flat in Daffodil Gardens after weeks of trouble breathing with severe asthma.

An inquest sitting at Walthamstow Coroners’ Court heard that partner Andrew Smyth had looked after her through the illness.

In a statement read in court, he told how the day had started normally on December 16 when he got Miss Manning a cup of tea in bed.

But she was ill and had not been sleeping well so he urged her to rest for the day.

Mr Smyth said: “I made dinner for us both at about 9pm and went to wake her up but I couldn’t wake her up.

“I knew something was wrong and I ran out the flat to get my neighbour Gary to phone the ambulance.”

Friend Gary Donnelly said in a statement: “I called them and then went into the bedroom of their flat.

“He was trying to wake up her, he was in a really bad way. Joanne was lying on her back and she felt very cold.

“I knew she was gone because I had experience it before with my mum.”

Joanne was taking prescribed methadone as part of addiction therapy when she was diagnosed with asthma in September 2012.

The combined medications can have a fatal reaction but doctors said they took a calculated risk against the possibility of her relapsing back into drug addiction.

Miss Manning had battled for years against an addiction to heroin, alcohol problems, crack cocaine use and depression.

Her key worker, psychiatric nurse David Geary said: “We often found alcohol in breath tests but she was always apologetic and blamed no one but herself.

“Her treatment was important to her – she made many attempts to take control of her drinking and get on with her life.”

Recording a narrative verdict, coroner Nadia Persaud said Miss Manning died naturally of respiratory failure and the toxic cocktail of prescribed methadone, anti-depressants and traces of morphine and crack cocaine.


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