Obese Stoke-on-Trent woman killed by drug and alcohol abuse

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A Stoke-on-Trent woman ashamed of her weight, died from a toxic mix of methadone, anti-depressants and alcohol, an inquest heard.

Nicola Bithall was so down about how heavy she was, she would visit a chemist in a taxi, her twin sister Andrea told the coroners court.

Nicola was found dead at her home in Hatfield Crescent, Blurton, by Andrea in May this year.

The unemployed 39-year-old started taking heroin in 1997 for a number of years.

She began a prescribed methadone programme and at the time of her death had been taking 80 milligrams a day.

Twin Andrea said: “She always turned up for her methadone twice a week and was good with it.

“She was drinking on a daily basis, probably two or three cans of strong lager and messed around with butane.

“Nicola had been depressed and fed up with her lifestyle.

“She was down about her weight and how her skin looked like and she didn’t know why.

“She wouldn’t go out because of her weight and would go to the chemist in a taxi.”

On the day of Nicola’s death, Andrea said she had been sleeping all day which was normal for her.

She said: “I went in and nudged her with my foot to wake her up but she didn’t and that’s when I knew something was wrong.”

Ian Smith , Senior Coroner for Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire, recorded a verdict of death due to cirrhosis of the liver and Hepatitis C – caused by methadone and anti-depressants as well as alcohol abuse and obesity.

He said: “She clearly had her problems for many a year, going back to her drug abuse.

“She has not exactly been a model of someone who has recovered from drug abuse.”

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