Grieving Sunderland mum says inquest has failed to answer questions about daughter’s death

A grieving Sunderland mum says an inquest has failed to clear up how her daughter died.
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Thirty-five-year-old Tina Robson, from Penshaw, was found dead at her flat in Bridgehouse Mission in Stockton in July 2020.

An inquest into her death at Teesside Magistrates’ Court concluded with assistant Teesside coroner Karin Welsh ruling that Tina died of misadventure.

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But Sue Robson, Tina’s mother, has been left to raise her son Vinnie, who was just 11 when she died, says she is ‘no clearer’ as to what happened.

“We arrived at Teesside Coroner’s Court on Monday seeking answers about how and why Tina died,” she said.

“We leave here today no clearer about her actual cause of death. The pathologist’s conclusion, although based on the balance of probabilities, was more due to there being no other identifiable cause of death.”

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She criticised the investigation by Cleveland Police, saying it led to ‘a dearth of any useful information’ for the hearing’.

Tina Robson with son VinnieTina Robson with son Vinnie
Tina Robson with son Vinnie

But the coroner concluded there was no evidence of third party involvement in Tina’s death and that statutory and voluntary sector services worked appropriately and proportionately in everything they did.

Sue questioned whether Bridgehouse Mission was a “safe or suitable housing placement for Tina” or other women suffering lifelong trauma and associated poor mental health and addictions. However, Ms Welsh said in her conclusion that she had no concerns about the housing-related support offered by Bridgehouse Mission or the decision to offer Tina – who had a history of drug and alcohol issues – accommodation there. Bridgehouse Mission declined to comment when contacted by the Echo.

Sue added: "We are relieved about the coroner’s conclusion of misadventure and the reasons given for that, in that she has recognised that Tina’s dependence on drugs and alcohol was as a result of her historic and ongoing trauma.”

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Tina with Vinnie as a babyTina with Vinnie as a baby
Tina with Vinnie as a baby
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Gemma Vine, of Ison Harrison solicitors, who represent the family, said: “Tina’s inquest has highlighted the need for regulation in the housing-related supported accommodation sector beyond simple contract monitoring.“It has been particularly concerning to hear professional witnesses from both statutory and voluntary services refer to Tina as having made ‘lifestyle choices’ to use alcohol and substances, despite the overwhelming evidence of historic and continuing abuse.“There is a continued need to dispel and challenge the myths around alcohol use and the ‘choice’ concept; that vulnerable people dependent on alcohol choose to live their lives in the way they do and unless they consent to intervention there is nothing services can do.”Jodie Anderson, Senior Caseworker at campiagn group INQUEST, which supports bereaved families, said: “Tina’s death is yet another example of the ways in which public services fail to support women dealing with significant trauma.

"For Tina this contributed to her mental ill health and addictions from a young age. Throughout her life she did not get the specialist care and support she needed to overcome this.”

A Cleveland Police spokesperson said: “We offer our condolences to the family. As this was a non-suspicious death police prepared a file for the Coroner and it became a coronial process.”