Woman, 38, and man, 51, died after taking ‘cocktail of medication’

Ipswich Coroner's Court. Photo: Google Maps

Ipswich Coroner's Court. Photo: Google Maps - Credit: Archant

An inquest has heard how a 38-year-old woman and 51-year-old man who gave each other support for mental health difficulties have died.

A coroner said Kelly Waller and Kevin Wade died after taking a “cocktail of medication” together at Mr Wade’s home at Peddars Way, Lowestoft on Wednesday, December 11 2019.

Mr Wade was declared dead at his home that evening - his 51st birthday - when police officers forced entry while making enquiries into the whereabouts of Mrs Waller, who had been reported missing from her assisted-living flat at Harry Ley House in Beccles that day.

Mrs Waller had told friends she would be visiting Mr Wade that evening, “so he would not be alone on his birthday”, but when officers arrived on the scene the next day, they had to break open a lock to enter the home after seeing the two friends laying “unresponsive” inside, the inquest heard.

Paramedics were able to resuscitate Mrs Waller, who was still breathing when police arrived, though she passed away on Thursday, December 12 at the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston.

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Two inquests held on Tuesday, July 7, heard how both friends had struggled with their mental health for many years, though neither death was found to be a suicide.

The court heard from Mr Wade’s sister, Amanda Thomspon, how: “Kevin was a fun loving man with a heart of gold. But he was unlucky in love and his depression got the better of him.”

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They also heard from his GP how his health deteriorated in the final years of his life alongside issues with addiction and mental health which he saw specialists for.

Evidence given by detectives showed texts from Mr Wade saying he had “reached rock bottom”, “was feeling very low”, and “couldn’t snap out of it.” However, the court heard that Mr Wade declined help for his addiction in August.

Coroner Jacqueline Devonish said: “There is nothing to suggest this was a suicide as there is no history of that provided. What we do know is he had been dependant on drugs and alcohol for some time and declined the support offered to him.

“He had long standing mental health issues and it is unclear exactly what happened on that evening, but given his history I find this to be a drug-related death”.

A post-mortem examination showed Mr Wade had taken a mixture of prescription medication and illicit substances prior to his death, while Mrs Waller had died from a toxic combination of prescription medication.

The coroner’s court heard that Mrs Waller had previously been hospitalised for a string of overdoses and incidences of self-harm, and noted her previous addiction to illicit drugs.

However her family members and mental health support staff told the court that she had been sober for the 13 months prior to her death.

Mrs Waller’s mother, Dawn Smith, said: “She was a really bubbly, happy-go-lucky sort of person, the heart and soul of the party. She was a lovely person and I was proud of her.

“But she didn’t tell me she had difficulties, she was too proud to talk to me about it.”

The court heard from the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust and the addiction charity Turning Point who had been assisting Mrs Walker in her recovery.

Ms Devonish said: “It was very difficult to help her as she was impulsive and her conditions meant her mood could change very quickly.

“She was clearly supported, and I think nobody could have predicted what happened here or could be blamed. Kelly took a cocktail of medication prescribed to her friend, but the evidence does not explain whether she intended the outcome to be fatal in light of her mental health difficulties.”

*If you need help and support, you can call Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust’s First Response helpline on 0808 196 3494 or the Samaritans on 113 123. Both services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also search for the Stay Alive app in the App Store.

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