Tragedy as Wigan mum found dead at home after taking prescription drugs

A grandmother with a history of abusing prescription drugs was found dead at her home when her concerned son broke in, an inquest heard.

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 4:55 am

Stephen Lloyd became worried when Diane Lloyd did not answer the door and he could see her through a window.

He called 999 and smashed a window to get into the house on Tyrer Walk, Lowton, where he found her on the sofa with a puzzle book on her lap.

Mrs Lloyd, 56, may have died a day or two before she was found on January 25, an inquest at Bolton Coroner’s Court was told.

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Bolton Coroner's Court
Bolton Coroner's Court

Police found a “large number” of medication bottles in the house. The prescription labels had been ripped off and when found, they featured someone else’s name.

Tests showed Mrs Lloyd died from combined drug toxicity after taking anti-convulsant gabapentin and painkillers dihydrocodeine and morphine, all at higher than therapeutic amounts.

The inquest heard the mother-of-three had a history of abusing prescription drugs, sometimes exaggerating illnesses to get medication.

Her son explained how she asked him to secure drugs for her when he was younger, something he refused to do.

More recently she seemed to be managing better, despite the death of her husband, and was going to see her son and his two children every Sunday.

She seemed to take a dip in December and turned to drugs again, though Mr Lloyd told the inquest he believed she had been using them for some time without his knowledge.

On January 15, he got a message from his wife Kinga Kuscikovia to say his mother was at their home. She was confused, trying to open her car door with a house key, looked “a mess” and she thought she had taken drugs.

Mrs Lloyd’s neighbour Helen Miller said she went to her door that day too and asked her for a lift. She looked “shocking” and “couldn’t talk”.

When Mr Lloyd went to see her, his mother was “desperate” for him to drive her somewhere and he was so concerned she would drive that he called the police.

“I was worried if she drove her car, not just for her safety but for the public’s safety as well,” he said.

She turned up at Mr Lloyd’s home “around six or seven times” early the next day, while he was sleeping, again asking him to drive her.

He later went to her house and found her wearing her coat, ready to go out.

Mrs Lloyd was “sluggish” and her eyes were “glazed”. He told her how upset he was she was using drugs again, before leaving.

Mr Lloyd went back to check on her and spoke to Mrs Miller, before they both went into Mrs Lloyd’s house.

They found 30 medication bottles and Mr Lloyd called for an ambulance, concerned his mother had overdosed, before driving her to Wigan Infirmary’s A&E unit himself.

He took the medication bottles and insisted staff carry out a mental health assessment, as he feared she could not cope by herself.

Mr Lloyd saw his mother the next day, when she went to his house to ask for money for a taxi.

“She looked a bit tired and that, but she was talking to me normally, she wasn’t slurring her words, her eyes looked back to normal,” he said.

He saw her an hour later, when she said she was going to buy food, but that was the last time he saw her alive.

The inquest heard that while in hospital Mrs Lloyd saw a nurse from the mental health urgent response team, who was covering for the mental health liaison team, and denied taking drugs. She appeared to be rational, relaxed and had mental capacity.

Nurse Gillian Maloney discharged her to her GP and asked for a review of her prescriptions.

Questions were asked about why drug screening was not done, but the inquest heard that would reveal she had taken opiates but not how much or what kind, so may not have been particularly helpful as she had a prescription.

While it was best practice for this to be done by the mental health liaison team, Ms Maloney’s team followed different processes.

The screening may have led to Mrs Lloyd being referred for substance misuse support, but she would have had to be willing to get that help, something which was doubted in court.

Coroner Stephen Teasdale recorded Mrs Lloyd’s death was drug-related.

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