Woman died days after firework attack on Sunderland home

Thompson Road. Southwick
Thompson Road. Southwick

A woman died just days after she had to be moved out of her home when it was targeted in a firework attack by a youth, an inquest heard.

The hearing was told Sylvia Brook was subjected to antisocial abuse for several months before the rocket was fired at her property in Thompson Road, Southwick, on Bonfire Night last year.

Her lifestyle was a major contributing factor to her health and although she had been suffering antisocial behaviour, that matter had been resolved for herself and her son.

Acting Detective Inspector Victoria Ford-Stubbs

The 60-year-old and her son Wayne were moved by police and had been helped by a number of other organisations, with her body found at the bedsit in nearby Goschen Street on the morning of Wednesday, November 8.

An inquest into her death was told four youths had been held to account for trouble in the area, with three prosecuted for public order offences and the fourth for throwing a firework. But while their activities had been said to have had an “adverse impact” on Sylvia, the hearing at Sunderland coroner’s court was told they could not be held responsible for her death.

Coroner Derek Winter was told a post-mortem examination found her cause of death to be the combination of the toxic effects of a mix of drugs.

Tests found Sylvia had the painkiller codeine as well as antidepressant drugs zopiclone, diazepam and mirtazapine in her system when she died, which although not in high doses, can cause problems with the heart and lungs.

Acting Detective Inspector Victoria Ford-Stubbs told the hearing Sylvia had not looked after her health and personal care, had an issue with drinking in the past and was also a smoker.

“Sylvia had suffered from antisocial behaviour in the previous six months,” she said. “The antisocial behaviour accumulated on November 5, and this increased the stress caused to Sylvia.”

Mr Winter, recording a conclusion of misadventure, said: “There is no suggestion of any direct link between the actions of individuals explained by the officer, but it has to be said their conduct in some way must have had an adverse impact to the lifestyle of Sylvia and ruined the enjoyment of occupying her home without interference or nuisance.”