Tragic death of mum from cocktail of drugs

A loving mum-of-two suffering from anxiety died after accidentally overdosing on a cocktail of medication, an inquest heard.

Nichola Speake was found unconscious at her home in Water Royd Crescent after taking a mixture of anti-depressants, morphine and alcohol.

Huddersfield Coroner’s Court heard that Mrs Speake, 36, had struggled with an eating disorder and depression in her teens, but the problems had recurred. The inquest heard she had not eaten or slept for several days before she was found dead on December 21 last year.

Mrs Speake visited her GP six times from November 19 after becoming increasingly anxious and vomiting after meals.

She was referred to mental health professionals and prescribed medication by GP Katherine Smith at Mirfield Health Centre.

April Ramsden, from the Ravensleigh Resource Centre in Dewsbury, told the hearing that Mrs Speake felt visits to weight loss meetings the previous Christmas may have triggered her eating disorder again, but added that she was ‘very focused’ on wanting to address it.

She was not judged as a suicide risk as she listed many positives in her life, including her children, aged five and eight.

Her father, John Gawthorpe, said his daughter was ‘a very bright, lively and intelligent person’, adding that she was always immaculately dressed.

“She was like a pied piper where children were concerned, they followed her everywhere she went,” he added. “She loved those boys.”

Mrs Speake also cared for her brother, who had been left disabled following a car crash, two days a week.

The hearing was told that Mrs Speake was found to have an allergic reaction to some of her medication and was given a different prescription and told to stop taking the previous drugs. But West Yorkshire Deputy Coroner Tim Ratcliffe concluded it was clear she had ignored Dr Smith’s advice and taken a combination of the drugs.

He said toxicology results also showed Mrs Speake had taken a fatal dose of morphine but said it was a mystery how she had come about the drug, which had not been prescribed.

Her husband, Richard Speake, had been out for the evening of December 20 and sent a text to his wife of 14 years just after 10pm. She replied, saying she was fine and watching television. He returned home just before midnight to find his wife slumped on a sofa. She was pronounced dead by paramedics at the house just after midnight.

The couple had been due to see a psychiatrist about her eating disorder later that day and go Christmas shopping afterwards.

Mr Ratcliffe recorded a verdict of misadventure. He said: “Nichola did the right thing. She went to the doctors and asked for advice. I can find that Nichola took those drugs to help her, but sadly they did not do so.”