A MUM who had mental health issues died after taking an overdose of medication, some of which she had purchased from an online pharmacy, an inquest has heard.

The hearing at Accrington Town Hall was also told today (Monday, May 9) how the online pharmacy had not seen Kirsty McNulty's medical records or medication history before dispensing the drugs.

The 34-year-old, from Darwen, was found by friends at her home in London Terrace on July 15 last year after they had not heard from her for two days.

She was discovered along with a note and a Samsung mobile phone containing texts.

One of the messages sent to Kirsty’s care co-ordinator Emma Horsfield on July 12 said: “I don’t want to talk about it, I don’t want anything to do with mental health, I am done.

“There is nothing that can help me long term. I am sick of trying, I don’t have the energy to try anymore. I will be gone by next week.”

Questions were raised during the inquest by Kirsty’s parents as to where their daughter was able to access so much medication, with it coming to light that she purchased some of the tablets from an independent online pharmacy.

This website had failed to access her medical records before dispensing the drugs after she told them she wanted the tablets as she was experiencing migraines.

They also expressed worries about Kirsty’s prescribed medication, with the doses being prescribed by a psychiatrist crossing over with doses prescribed by her GP, and said there had been a lack of continuity in their daughter’s care which they were unhappy with, including not having their numbers on file should they need to be contacted for any reason.

Independent pharmacist Chris Newbury told the inquest had he known what medication Kirsty had been on he would not have prescribed her the drugs.

Coroner Richard Taylor said CCTV footage obtained from her property showed Kirsty at around midday on July 13 in the living room walking towards the stairs with some tablets.

He said: “The footage later showed Kirsty coming back into the living room at about 7.35pm, clearly in a state of distress, unbalanced and stumbling.

“She goes out of sight at around 7.38pm and is not seen again.”

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Kirsty, who had made several attempts on her life in the past, was found unresponsive two days later and taken to hospital where a medical cause of death was offered as toxicity from medication.

Mr Taylor called a number of witnesses to give evidence in the inquest, including Emma Horsfield, who said Kirsty had been under the care of mental health services since 2019, after being diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD) and was on prescribed medication.

It was heard Kirsty had been admitted to hospital several times under the Mental Health Act but struggled to be there, so a number of other therapies were explored.

Ms Horsfield said Kirsty would sometimes binge drink and had anxiety about leaving the house, using alcohol to provide her with the confidence to socialise with friends.

The 34-year-old was put on new medication in May 2021 and said she was feeling well on them, “like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders” and she wished she’d been on those tablets before. However, in the weeks before her death, she had spoken of becoming increasingly tired.

Ms Horsfield said her last contact with Kirsty was on July 6 when she had been informed Kirsty had taken an overdose the night before. She had gone to A&E but left before being seen.

Ms Horsfield said: “The police went round for a welfare check, but she refused to go back to hospital.

“However, she seemed quite positive and was future planning, and said her mum was looking after some of her medication so she couldn’t be impulsive with it.”

It was then heard that on July 8 she was found on a bridge after suffering suicidal ideation and was then assessed by mental health services.

A support worker was sent to her house on July 12 but there was no answer despite there being a window open, although Ms Horsfield said this wasn’t unusual as sometimes Kirsty would be sleeping in the day and would occasionally put her phone on flight mode.

A note was pushed through Kirsty’s letterbox and it was decided a multi-disciplinary meeting was to take place on July 14 where alternative support would be discussed, but sadly Kirsty was found dead the following day.

Evidence from Dr Jenny Stanford, a consultant clinical psychologist who carried out an investigation on behalf of the Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust into the events surrounding Kirsty’s death and the treatment she received, revealed the mum-of-one had been admitted to hospital under the Mental Health Act at least 10 times.

But despite the investigation finding no root cause in relation to her death, Dr Stanford did say that Kirsty had been feeling anxious about her relationship with her daughter, was experiencing a number of issues relating to past traumas, was worried about her housing situation and noted that her engagement with the services had waned in the weeks before her death.

Dr Stanford said: “Her parents felt she was struggling on the medication she was on although she hadn’t told her care team about this, and had sourced additional medication from an independent pharmacist.

“Her fatal overdose was different to previous periods of self-harm as she had left a note for her parents and didn’t seek active help from others, as well as there being limited opportunity for other people to intervene.”

Independent pharmacist Chris Newbury also told the court Kirsty accessed the service on the Friday evening before her death, requesting a quantity of medication, which was prescribed on Sunday and dispensed on Monday, with it being delivered on Wednesday.

Mr Newbury said while the usual process would be to try and seek access to a person’s medical records before prescribing any medication, this was not done in Kirsty’s case as she had purchased medication from the pharmacy in the past, and on that basis, she was prescribed the tablets.

Mr Newbury admitted had he known what medication Kirsty was taking he would not have dispensed the prescription.

Andy Boysan, director of the independent pharmacy, told the inquest there had since been steps put in place to mitigate the risk of people buying medication without their records being seen and to prevent scenarios like this from happening again.

This includes suspending sales of that particular medication online and waiting until after the weekend to authorise the dispensing of some medication, saying "we will not leave anything to chance".

He added: “We are all deeply moved by what has happened and would have preferred that these reviews taken place in different circumstances.”

Mr Taylor concluded: "There's an element of human error here but the response to Kirsty's death has been quite proper.

"We have a note that demonstrates intent and a far larger amount of medication taken and far stronger medication, and this demonstrates not an impulsive act but one of intent and on that basis, I note the appropriate conclusion would be one of suicide.

"Kirsty has died as a result of ingesting an excess of medication bought from an online pharmacy whose checks had been compromised."

If you are struggling or in crisis call Samaritans on 116 123.