Drugs and poor health led to woman’s death in Louth refuge


The manager of Louth Women’s Refuge found a resident dead shortly after she arrived at the centre.

The inquest into the death of Donna Whiting concluded it was “drug-related.”

Deputy Coroner Richard Marshall told Spilsby Coroner’s Court that the post mortem revealed the 45-year-old was malnourished, had sclerosis of her coronary arteries, congested lungs, and drugs in her blood, including methadone, codeine, paracetamol and prescription drugs.

Manager Julie Woods said when Donna arrived at the refuge from Newark last February 12, she was on a weekly methadone programme. Donna said she was tired and went to her room and seemed pleased to be there.

Ms Woods went upstairs to her room door, knocked and got answer. She went inside and Donna looked to be sleeping, but she wasn’t.

A statement from her Newark doctor said Donna had a long history of respiratory problems, asthma, bipolar disorder and drug dependency.

The court heard she had made many recent visits to her doctor for prescriptions, and she was a chronic user of diazepam.

Miss Whiting had a long history of mental problems and was a heroin addict but she “did not engage” with the Drug & Alcohol Rehabilitation Teams (DART), the inquest also heard.

“She had repository problems and mental health problems and was proscribed a significant quantity of drugs. She was on methadone,” said Mr Marshall.

“The cause of death is cardiac arrest and toxicity of the drugs she had taken. This is a drug-related death. I just want to emphasise it doesn’t imply it was a controlled death.”