A CORONER has adjourned an inquest into a drugs-related death of a Burnley teenager for further inquiries.
Elizabeth Freeston, 19, was found dead in her bed by her boyfriend Michael Grundy at their home in Francis Street, Burnley, on December 12, 2012.
Mr Grundy, who had been living with Miss Freeston for eight months, told an inquest at Burnley Coroner’s Court she had been ill in bed for two days before he found her unresponsive and went over to his brother’s nearby house to get help.
Darren, his brother, said he went into the bedroom, opened Miss Freeston’s eyes and could tell she had died.
He said: “I told Mick to call an ambulance – she’s dead.”
Dr Richard Prescott, a consultant at Royal Blackburn Hospital, who performed the post-mortem examination on Miss Freeston, said she died from a combination of heroin, diazepam and the anti-depressant fluoxetine in her system.
Dr Prescott said: “She had had two injections on both elbows that look fairly recent. In relation to the heroin, she had 43 microgrammes in her blood, which if there’s very little tolerance could cause death.”
But the inquest heard from Miss Freeston’s family and friends who claimed she hated needles and had never tried heroin before.
Her mother, Sarah, held back tears as she told the inquest: “She took alcohol very rarely and never took other drugs. I was aware that she was prescribed fluoxetine by the doctor.”
She described her daughter, a former Ridgewood Community High School student, as a ‘brave and determined young woman who had overcome many obstacles in her short life’. She said: “She had lots to offer and touched many people’s lives.”
The inquest heard from Stacey Spencer, a friend of Mr Grundy and Miss Freeston, who claimed Mr Grundy had sold heroin to her in the past and told her that he had given valium and heroin to Miss Freeston in the days before her death.
She said: “He said he had given her about 20 millilitres of heroin and 10 valiums.”
Referring to another occasion, she added: “I saw him being abrupt and intimidating with her. He went out and returned with heroin and valium and told her to have some and she said she didn’t want to take them.”
East Lancashire coroner Richard Taylor adjourned the inquest yesterday to give the solicitor acting on behalf of the Freeston family the chance to make written submissions, which Mr Taylor said, could be passed on to the Crown Prosecution Service for further investigation.