A MUM-of-one was discovered dead by her brother-in-law after accidentally taking an overdose of drugs, a coroner’s court has heard.

Catherine Burrows, 43, was pronounced dead at her home in Valley Close, Nelson, on January 8, and it was later ruled that she had an excess of gabapentin in her system, along with a quantity of methadone.


Her sister, Jeanette, told the court that the methadone was a prescribed drug and her sister did not have any history of heroin use.

Assistant coroner Mark Williams concluded at Burnley Coroner’s Court on Tuesday that her death was accidental and she did not mean to kill herself by taking an overdose of drugs.

The court heard how the former Walton High School student was prescribed the drugs for back pain.

The inquest was told Ms Burrows, who had also attended St John’s Primary School in Nelson, had suffered with depression in the past.

Dr Richard Prescott, who carried out the post mortem examination on January 9, said that the toxicity of the two drugs would have caused her to slip into a coma while she was sleeping and she would have then passed away.

He told the court that the combination of drugs, which included 200 ml/l of gabapentin, would have worked to depress her breathing. He added that the level of methadone was not excessive.

Mr Williams said he had no reason to believe that Ms Burrows intended to take her own life.

It appeared that she had just gone to bed peacefully one night and that she did not wake up.

Ms Burrow’s brother in law, Edward Wilkinson, said: “She was not picking up her phone or answering her texts so we went over and when she did not answer the door we let ourselves in with a spare key.

“I found her in her bed and it looked like she was asleep.

“I knew when I touched her that she had passed away because she was so cold.”