Mum’s tragic death days before son’s wedding

Police at the scene where Louise's body was found
Police at the scene where Louise's body was found

A mum was found dead in a canal just 10 days before her son was due to get married, an inquest has heard.

Bolton Coroner’s Court heard how mother-of-two Louise Hurley (pictured) had struggled with anxiety and depression for many years and had tried to take her own life before.

Her husband John described how the 51-year-old was often outgoing when outside the house, but when at home would hide herself away in her room for long periods of time.

He said: “She said she worried about her family. Little things that seemed little to me seemed big to my wife.

“The last time I found her she said she wanted to end her life and didn’t expect me to come home when I did.

“From the outside looking in she seemed like everyone else apart from the depression.”

Mrs Hurley had been receiving support from mental health services in the past but the court heard how she stopped going in 2014 because she thought it was a waste of time. She was prescribed a number of medications over the years to help her sleep and had become addicted to benzodiazepine for which she was receiving help.

The court heard that Mr Hurley had noticed that between £900 and £1,000 extra had gone missing from the family’s bank account in the months before Mrs Hurley’s death and had asked his wife where the money had gone the night before she died.

He said: “We didn’t really argue and this wasn’t an argument. I asked her where the money had gone and we had a discussion about it.”

Mrs Hurley did not reveal where the money had gone but her daughter Christy said the money may have been used to pay for her dress for son Jamie’s wedding.

She said: “She had got her dress but she kept saying she didn’t like it and it didn’t suit her. It had been handmade for her.”

Following the discussion, Mrs Hurley sent a text message to her boss at Debenhams, where she worked as a sales assistant in the shoe department, to tell her she would not be coming in the next day because something had happened.

At around 12.30am on March 18, Christy noticed that Mrs Hurley had left their Orrell home and that she had taken the family car.

Mr Hurley and Christy went to look for her and at 6am they reported her missing. They were told a few hours later that the body of a woman matching her description had been found in the Leeds Liverpool Canal behind the Baby Elephant restaurant on Gathurst Lane, Shevington by a dog walker at around 8am.

A post mortem examination revealed that Mrs Hurley had died as a result of drowning and that she had high levels of codeine and paracetamol in her blood.

Packaging for co-codamol, which contains both codeine and paracetamol, was found on an embankment near to the canal, along with an empty bottle of gin, a pair of lady’s glasses and vomit with two undigested pills in it.

The court heard that the amount of paracetamol in Mrs Hurley’s system was likely to have been enough for a fatal dose but that it would have taken between three and five days to have had an affect on her.

Area coroner Alan Walsh ruled that there was not enough evidence to suggest Mrs Hurley had intended to take her own life by drowning herself in the canal despite being satisfied she had taken a large number of co-codamol tablets.

He concluded that the canal tow path was unlit and the drugs and alcohol in her system would have made Mrs Hurley disorientated, meaning she could easily have fallen in.

As a result he recorded an open conclusion.