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Open verdict on Lanivet overdose mum Stephanie Peters

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: February 11, 2014

A LANIVET mother who regularly self-harmed died after taking an overdose of strong painkillers, an inquest heard.

Stephanie Anne Peters, 35, was found dead at her Brewers Close home on March 26, 2012 by her husband.

The inquest at Truro Coroner's Court on Monday last week heard that Mrs Peters had suffered from post-natal depression after the birth of her final child, which triggered other memories, and as well as regularly self-harming she tried to take her own life with an overdose ten months before her death.

In the week before her death Mrs Peters again cut herself and was prescribed oramorph (morphine) for her injuries.

Mrs Peters' husband, Darren, her primary carer, said that he usually kept his wife's medication locked away but allowed her access in the days before the death as she asked him to trust her.

"There was nothing to indicate that she would take her own life as she was in a good place and was happily watching television in bed," Mr Peters said.

Mrs Peters' daughter Emily described her mother as "drowsy" and "out of it" while sitting up in bed but didn't realise she had taken too much.

A pathologist's report said that Mrs Peters died that night from a fatal combination of the morphine and opioid painkiller tramadol, prescribed four months previously, and anti-depressants in her blood.

In the same week Mrs Peters' husband and children travelled to Devon to clear out a relative's house, bringing back a bag of medication including morphine, which Mr Peters intended to dispose of.

The inquest heard that before going to bed on the night of her death Mrs Peters went through the bag of medication to "choose which one she wanted" and took out the morphine, which she then combined with her existing morphine and tramadol.

Mr Peters said that before the post-natal depression his wife was "outgoing" and "loved life", but the post-natal depression triggered a downward spiral.

After the suicide attempt in May 2011 Mrs Peters missed follow-up appointments with her mental health support team. A psychiatrist considered her to be at low risk of again attempting to take her life.

Mrs Peters' mother, Pam Bennetto, told the inquest that the suicide attempt "frightened" her daughter so much that she vowed not to do it again.

Deputy Coroner for Cornwall Barrie van den Berg recorded an open verdict. He said: "An overdose of tramadol and morphine killed Mrs Peters buts it is quite certain that she didn't take her own life.

"Although the evidence doesn't disclose what happened, we can rule out suicide." Mrs Peters leaves her husband Darren, daughter Chloe and three children from a previous relationship, Emily, Joshua and Ryan.

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