Son finds mum dead in bed


A WIGAN mum was discovered unconscious in her bed by her son after ingesting a cocktail of alcohol and prescribed medication, an inquest heard.

The hearing, led by assistant coroner Geoffrey Saul, recorded that Barbara Anne Macfarlane died as a result of drug and alcohol related toxicity.

Peter Richardson said that he found his mother passed out in her bed at her home in Lincoln Road, Hindley, on July 10.

The 56-year-old had divorced her husband in 2003 and had embarked on a year-long relationship in 2010.

Her former partner had died last year, and although they had split up, Ms Macfarlane was affected by the death.

Mr Richardson, who is the youngest of three children, said: “She was upset by it but had spoken to the doctor, feeling really depressed. But as far as we were concerned, she had come out of it.”

He told the inquest, which was held at Bolton Coroners’ Court, that his mother had suffered problems with alcohol since she was in her twenties and some of her children were taken into temporary care.

Mr Richardson added: “She was a very kind person when she was sober and straight to the point, but her behaviour caused problems with family and friends.”

He added that the last time he saw his mum was on July 5 and she had not had a drink. He attempted to call her a few days later, but got no reply and so went to her house.

Dr Elizabeth Robertson, Ms Macfarlane’s GP, said that she had a history of deliberately overdosing and self harming. In 2005 she sought help for alcohol dependence as she drank 20 units of cider a day and in 2011, she attended a review about her depression and drinking. In March this year, she contacted the surgery saying she was struggling emotionally due to multiple bereavements, but expressed no suicidal thoughts. By April she felt more positive.

A post mortem examination revealed that Ms Macfarlane’s alcohol levels were more than the legal limit and that there were levels of therapeutic medicinal drugs which were only just below the fatal limit.

A police statement revealed there was no evidence of third party involvement.

Mr Saul concluded that there was not enough evidence that Ms Macfarlane had intended to take her own life and recorded a verdict that she died as a result of combined drug - namely zopiclone, contained in sleeping tablets - and alcohol toxicity.