Uckfield mother dies after '˜considerable overdose' following trauma over son's death

Eastbourne Town HallEastbourne Town Hall
Eastbourne Town Hall
An Uckfield mother died after taking a toxic mix of medication drugs, an inquest found.

Sophie Marshall passed away after struggling with anxiety, depression, and chronic pain for years.

The 48-year-old had also suffered trauma following the sudden death of her five-year-old son in 2013, the inquest at Eastbourne Town Hall heard on Thursday (March 1).

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The body of Ms Marshall, who had been living alone at her home in Keld Drive, was discovered by builders who had been carrying out renovation work on January 23, 2017.

A coroner found she had not taken her own life deliberately but had simply taken a number of substances – including opiates and sleeping pills – to ‘find solace’.

A pathologist report said Ms Marshall had taken these substances in levels greatly exceeding the therapeutic range, with some at 10 times the amount which is considered dangerous to take.

Coroner Alan Craze called it a ‘considerable overdose’, and referred to the ‘absolute tragedy’ of Ms Marshall’s son’s accidental death just a few years before.

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Her counselling psychologist Dr Dawn Clark said the mother had been suffering trauma after the tragedy . The psychologist, who took the stand, also said Ms Marshall suffered from chronic pain which caused her to be disabled.

The court heard the mother also had a history of self-harm and had attempted to take her own life in 2013.

But Dr Clark said, “She was adamant she would never do anything like that again. It wasn’t her life she wanted to end but it was the situation she found herself in.”

And Ms Marshall’s ex-husband Adrian Marshall said he was under the impression things had improved.

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He said in court, “She used to feel a lot of pain and she’d take a lot of morphine, well beyond what she was prescribed. She used to take it in huge amounts for years.

“I was completely astounded that she killed herself now, I had no expectation of that. After all the things as far as I knew she got everything she wanted.

“I think she carried on until she couldn’t feel anything anymore.”

And housing support officer Sue Luther said Ms Marshall had told her suicide wasn’t an option because of her children.

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Summing up, coroner Alan Craze said, “Suicide must never be presumed, it must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.”

He said to come to a conclusion of suicide, the inquest must find Ms Marshall had intended to bring her life to an end.

But he said, “All she’s done is carry on her dangerous practice of taking more medication than she should have done to achieve solace, absence of pain or absence of anxiety.

“I recognise this death and aspects of Sophie’s life will have been very distressing and in some cases devastating.”

He recorded a conclusion of ‘accidental death’ and expressed his condolences to the family.

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