Tablets bought on internet may have killed woman

Centenary House in Durrington
Centenary House in Durrington

THE partner of a Littlehampton woman who died in unexplained circumstances believes tablets bought over the internet were to blame for her death.

An inquest heard that Sally Anne May, of Goda Road, died on October 19, 2013.

However, coroner Dr David Skipp was unable to return a definitive verdict on what caused her death.

Miss May, who died aged 54, was known to be dependant on a number of prescription drugs, as well as others she bought online.

The inquest, held at Centenary House, Durrington, last Wednesday, heard she would regularly take pills and sleep for three to four days at a time.

Miss May’s drug use became worse after her daughter was taken away from her by social services, the inquest heard.

She suffered multiple overdoses dating back to 1977 and was a regular visitor to A and E and out-of-hours doctors’ services.

Miss May had sought help but had a history of missing appointments for treatment.

In July, 2013, she was admitted to hospital after injecting crushed-up codeine tablets. A post-mortem examination carried out by Dr Mark Appleton at Worthing Hospital found a number of drugs, including dihydrocodeine, diazepam, temazapam and cannabinoids.

However, the levels of these drugs were not deemed fatal by a toxicologist at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

The toxicology report said it was likely the drugs contributed to Miss May’s death but could not fully explain it.

For that reason the cause of death remained unknown.

Miss May’s partner, Stephen Hildreth, told the hearing she had been buying drugs online from dealers abroad in countries like India, until customs began seizing her shipments.

She then began sourcing the drugs in the UK.

Mr Hildreth said: “She had been doing it for a long time. “She seemed very astute of how many to take.”

Mr Hildreth said he believed these tablets caused his partner’s death.

Recording an open verdict, Dr Skipp said: “There’s not enough conclusive information to reach any other verdict. It’s unsatisfying because it’s not specific. Maybe, at a later date, information will come to hand to enable us to revisit this particular inquest.”