Wigan mum's body found after first date

A mum who drank “copious” amounts of alcohol and took cocaine on a first date was found dead early the following day, an inquest heard.

Friday, 15th November 2019, 3:48 pm
Chloe Spencer

Chloe Spencer, 27, made plans to go on the date with David McCormick on Friday, June 21.

A hearing at Bolton Coroner’s Court was told the pair went to a pub for a couple of drinks and later went to Chloe’s home on Eckersley Street, Longshoot.

They also took cocaine during the date.

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Mr McCormick told the inquest: “We just drank, we laughed, we joked. I went to bed at about 11.30pm because I was training for a charity fight.”

He said she was in a “good mood” and there was nothing to suggest she had suicidal thoughts.

It was when he woke up at 5am to use the toilet that he found Chloe’s body, the inquest heard.

Mr McCormick said: “There’s lots of times I have thought if I had got up 10 minutes sooner, if I wasn’t training in the morning I could have stayed up drinking.”

A post-mortem examination found the medical cause of Chloe’s death was hanging.

She had 176mgs of alcohol in her blood - more than double the legal drink-drive limit of 80mgs - and cocaine at a “recreational” level.

Consultant pathologist Dr Naveen Sharma said while the drug can have “euphoric” effects, the comedown can include depression and anxiety.

A police investigation found no signs of anyone else being involved in Chloe’s death.

Chloe had spoken to her mother Deborah at around 3am, when she did not seem anxious, and they made plans to see each other later that day.

Det Ch Insp Philip Housley said analysis of Chloe’s mobile phone showed the last message she sent was to someone called Adam at 3.03am, while she read a message sent by her sister Kate at 3.09am.

A neighbour heard someone walking up the stairs at around 3.30am, so it was thought that Chloe died some time after that.

The inquest was told that Chloe had a happy childhood, but her mental health started to deteriorate when she was 17 after a sexual assault.

She started to self-harm, had an overdose and was sectioned in 2010.

Chloe received treatment and was able to rebuild her life.

She did various jobs, most recently employed as a mental health support worker, and was described by her mother as a “beautiful person”.

She gave birth to a daughter Isla and “adored” her.

But when the relationship with her partner ended, there were initially issues with childcare arrangements.

However, they worked to address this and just three days before she died, Chloe had been in court regarding custody and seemed to be “very positive” about the outcome of the hearing.

The inquest was told Chloe faced mental health issues again last year.

She went to A&E last October after an act of self-injury and started taking medication for anxiety and depression.

She was discharged from services in February, but was referred to the mental health assessment team in April by her GP.

A telephone triage should have been carried out within 24 hours - but the inquest heard it did not take place until 17 days later.

Chloe attended an appointment on May 22, where she said her mood was good and she denied any recent self-harm or suicidal thoughts.

A multi-disciplinary team decided she should see a consultant psychiatrist for diagnosis, as she had fluctuating moods, and a letter was sent on June 11 with an appointment for July 15.

An investigation was carried out after Chloe’s death by North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

She had been deemed to be at low risk of self-harm, the inquest heard. It found the medication she had been given was appropriate.

But there were found to be gaps in documentation and reporting systems, such as a letter not being sent to Chloe and safeguarding information being logged on Wigan Infirmary’s system but not on North West Boroughs’.

However, coroner Rachel Syed said she was satisfied that the care from Chloe’s GP and mental health services was appropriate.

She recorded a narrative conclusion to the inquest, saying she could not rule Chloe’s death to be suicide as there was no evidence to her intentions.

She ruled that Chloe died from traumatic injuries sustained after hanging herself, having consumed significant amounts of alcohol and recreational levels of cocaine, although her intentions could not be established.

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