A HUSBAND has paid tribute to a 'wonderful' woman who died after suffering a cardiac arrest brought on by a drug overdose.

Diane McNicholas, 55, from Oswaldtwistle, was found unresponsive in bed by husband John Stephen McNicholas, on October 21 last year.

She then suffered a cardiac arrest on the ambulance and died in Royal Blackburn Hospital on the same day, an inquest at Preston Coroner's Court heard.

Coroner James Newman said Mrs McNicholas had reached the 'end of her tether' and had taken an overdose of two types of prescribed medication.

Mr McNicholas told the hearing how his wife had battled physical and mental health problems for a significant period of her life.

He said: "Diane had a very difficult life and she was ill for many years physically and with various phobias and very significant anxiety.

"She especially suffered a lot in the last 10 to 15 years and spent a lot of time in bed and had no quality of life and was in a lot of pain.

"She had so social life and didn't leave the house very often.

"Diane had been on medication for most of her life and painkillers for 20 to 30 years."

Born in Clitheroe, Mrs McNicholas worked as an admin officer and was said to have enjoyed painting and drawing.

Mr McNicholas added:"She was a wonderful woman from the first day we met and I'm grateful for the life we spent together.

"It was a very challenging and sad life for her and she faced up to things most people wouldn't wish their worst enemy to go through.

"She was very brave."

The inquest heard how Mrs McNicholas had been vomiting and complained of abdominal pain on October 19 and asked her husband to sleep downstairs.

After initially feeling better on October 20, she then complained of the same problems after eating and was worried her liver was failing.

Then on October 21, Mr McNicholas found her unresponsive in bed at the couple's home in Barnard Close, Oswaldtwistle.

He called an ambulance but she suffered a cardiac arrest while in the ambulance and died later that day in Royal Blackburn Hospital.

Coroner Mr Newman said: "She'd lived a life of pain for many years and had been dealing with matters since 1987 after years of struggling with anxiety, depression and physical health problems.

"She had got to the end of her tether and an onset of abdominal pain then confirmed her worst case scenario, that her liver was failing when it actually wasn't."

Recording his conclusion, Mr Newman, added: "Mrs McNicholas died as a result of a cardiac arrest brought about by a deliberate overdose of medication on a background of an already damaged cardiac system."