Drug addict Tamara Tunstall suffered 3 overdoses in 5 weeks with the last one proving fatal
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A Preston addict who suffered three drug overdoses in just five weeks - the last one fatal - may not have meant to kill herself, an inquest was told.
Despite 45-year-old Tamara Tunstall admitting having suicidal thoughts on a number of occasions - the last time saying she wanted to jump off a bridge - a coroner said there was no proof her death in May this year was intentional.
"That is something only she would know," said assistant coroner Laura Fox at the hearing in Preston.
Tamara was found dead by a friend in her flat in Tulketh Road, Ashton on May 20 this year. A teaspoon was lying under a chair near her body.
The inquest was told she was taking heroin substitute methadone on prescription, but she admitted she was also using illicit heroin, crack cocaine and anxiety drug pregabalin, together with alcohol. She was also sharing drug paraphernalia with other addicts.
A toxicology examination carried out as part of the post mortem found the level of methadone in her blood was at the level regularly found in fatal overdoses. The test also showed a high level of pregabalin which is known to react with methadone to increase its toxic effect. There was also evidence she had taken cocaine.
In a statement to the inquest, which the coroner decided not to read out fully in court, one friend had said Tamara had told her she was "sick of life" in the months before she died.
The coroner said: "That is hearsay evidence. She (Tamara) had a background of overdoses and suicidal ideations over a course of years.
"I must find (for a suicide conclusion) on the balance of probabilities that she intended to take her own life - whether she took that quantity of methadone with the intention of ending her life. That is something only she would know.
"She clearly struggled with her mental health and regularly expressed suicidal thoughts. But her recent (two previous) overdoses were not felt to have been with the intention of ending her life."
The inquest heard Tamara had been getting support from substance abuse service Inspire, but had regularly turned to illicit heroin and crack cocaine in addition to the methadone she had been prescribed.
Det Insp Christian Ashcroft, who was called to Tamara's home after she was found dead, said he had examined the flat and her body and had found nothing suspicious. She had suffered no injuries and the flat was clean and tidy, apart from packets of medication.
Her body had been found by friend Kelly Lofthouse who called at the flat around lunchtime - 12 hours after she had last seen her alive.
Three years before her death Tamara went missing from a house in Burnley where she had been living. Police put out a media appeal saying they were "becoming increasingly concerned" about her welfare. She was found 12 days later safe and well in Preston.