Sunderland woman died after heavy drinking session

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A WOMAN found dead at her home had four times the legal drink-driving limit of alcohol in her body.

Tests on Samantha Louise Owen also revealed traces of cocaine, an inquest yesterday heard.

The 24-year-old was discovered at her Ryhope home on March 11 and pronounced dead at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

Three people who were in the house with her were arrested, but later released without charge.

Pathologist Dr Sidiq Tijani told the hearing at Sunderland civic centre that tests showed Mrs Owen’s blood contained 330 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres.

A fatal level would be about 400 microgrammes, he said, but people had died with readings in the high 200s.

Paramedics who were called to the house in Cherry Tree Square after being contacted by police at about 10.30am.

Dr Tijani said it was hard to say if Mrs Owens’ life could have been saved if she got medical help sooner.

“Perhaps, if she had been taken to hospital earlier, but having been in a state of unconsciousness, it was very difficult to know what was happening,” he said.

“Some people might think the person is apparently asleep.”

Officers interviewed three people who were at the house and searched their homes, but no drugs were found.

Detective Superintendent Simon Auty, of Northumbria Police, said: “As a result of all the investigations, police were happy there was no third-party involvement and no suspicious circumstances.

“It came to light that there had been alcohol consumed and some drug use as well. We believe cocaine.”

Coroner Derek Winter recorded a verdict of death by misadventure, with cause of death as acute alcohol toxicity.

He said: “In the absence 
of any suspicious circumstances or third-party involvement 
relating to the death, this 
was the unintended conseq-uence of excess alcohol consumption.”

Verdict: misadventure

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