Vulnerable Sunderland mum died after taking drugs including methadone and diazepam

A vulnerable Sunderland mum died after taking a mixture of drugs, an inquest had heard.
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Tina Robson died in July 2020, leaving her 11-year-old son Vinnie heartbroken.

The 35-year-old, who had battled with addiction and mental health issues from a young age, was living at the Bridge House Mission, in Stockton, at the time she died.

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Considered a vulnerable adult, Tina was subject to a safeguarding enquiry and a Police Public Protection Order.

An inquest into her death was opened by assistant coroner Karin Welsh at Teesside Magistrates Court today (Monday, July 4) and is scheduled to last up to four days.

Ms Welsh said the inquiry would examine Tina’s assessment and placement at Bridge House by Stockton Council, events in the six days she had been there and her own intentions on the day she died.

Pathologist Dr David Scoones told the hearing he had not been able to find any obvious physical cause for Tina’s death, but toxicology tests revealed drugs including methadone and diazepam.

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It was likely the different substances would have had a combined effect on brain activity associated with breathing.

Tina with son VinnieTina with son Vinnie
Tina with son Vinnie

“On the balance of probability, I would attribute death to the combined effects of the substances taken,” he said.

The inquest heard Tina had been told by a friend that she stopped breathing in her sleep a couple of weeks before her death and Dr Scoones was asked whether this could be a sign she was suffering from a medical condition – sleep apnea – in which patients stop breathing while asleep.

He replied that while it was possible, the condition could not be diagnosed post-mortem and he did not believe it would have made a difference to his conclusion: “The most likely cause is mixed drug toxicity,” he said.

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Tina’s friend John Adams said he had seen her shortly before she died and she had been fine.

“She was full of life, as cheeky as ever,” he said.

He denied he had ever sold drugs to Tina and said he had frequently warned her about the possible consequences of her behaviour.

He added: “I told her many times to slow down and watch what she was doing but Tina was Tina.”

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Paul Butler, who had been a fellow resident at Bridge House Mission, was questioned by Ms Welsh about his statement to police shortly after Tina’s death: “You said to the police that Tina said she was not feeling well. You said to the police that Tina had asked you not to leave her alone because of the drugs she had taken. As you were coming back to the hostel, Tina said’ ‘Don’t leave me, I am going to go over’.

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"You said in your statement that Tina was afraid she would overdose or somebody would do her in. Did she say who was going to do her in?”

Mr Butler replied : “No.”

The hearing was played a video pen portrait in which family and friends shared their memories of Tina, including one from her grandmother who said: “I pray she has found her peace in a better world” and her older sister, who described her as ‘a cheeky little bundle of joy’.

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