Woman found dead on sofa in Littlehampton: family wants answers from police

The family of a Wick woman who was found dead on her sofa said police could have done more to investigate what happened.

Michelle Johnson, 53, known as Micky, died on June 6 at home in Helyer’s Green, Wick, with fatal levels of painkiller in her system.

The inquest into her death on Tuesday, October 20, heard how Micky, born in Rustington, had struggled with an addiction to alcohol and drugs for years.

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She moved in with her current partner, in Helyer’s Green, Wick, and was sober for a while. But she slipped back into old habits and failed to engage with organisations she was referred to for help, the inquest heard.

Sussex Police

The hearing was told that, on June 5, her partner went to bed, leaving her on the sofa. When he woke up the next day, she was unresponsive.

Paramedics were called and confirmed her death at 12.10pm on June 6. Police said there were no suspicious circumstances.

A post-mortem revealed she had several drugs in her system, but fatal levels of amitriptyline, a painkiller.

Her sister, Jo Bazely, who was at the inquest, felt there should have been a more thorough police investigation into what happened, including speaking to her partner and finding out where she got the medication from, as it was not prescribed.

She told the inquest: “We are not on a witch hunt, but he was the last person to see her alive.

“As a family, we would have liked that particular closure to know what her last movements were.”

Senior coroner Penelope Schofield said ‘efforts had been made to get information from her partner’ about the evening she died ‘but that had not been forthcoming’.  

Mrs Schofield said she would pass on to Sussex Police ‘our concerns that the coroner’s service wasn’t called’ when Micky was declared dead and ‘there doesn’t appear to have been a thorough investigation’.

Mrs Schofield said she was ‘satisfied this was not a suicide in any way’ and concluded it was a drug-related death. “I will feed back the points you have raised,” she said to Ms Bazely. “It won’t bring Micky back, but perhaps it can assist police with other circumstances.”

Following the inequest, Sussex Police said: “We understand the coroner made no criticism of police.”