A WOMAN who was applying to receive IVF treatment died after taking a combination of six different prescribed tablets, an inquest heard.

The hearing was told that some of the drugs were present in massive quantities, but coroner Michael Singleton recorded an open verdict because he could not be certain 'beyond doubt' that Carolyn Brierley intended to take her own life.

The inquest heard that Mrs Brierley, 35, habitually wrote notes for her husband and herself and only the day before her death in May had started a new diary.

"If Carolyn thought it, she wrote it down," said her husband of 15 years, Stephen Brierley, of Whalley Road, Accrington. "If Carolyn had done this deliberately she would definitely have left us a note."

Mrs Brierley had been off work since injuring her back while working as an auxiliary nurse. She suffered from depression as a result of her injury and was prescribed numerous painkillers and anti-depressants as part of her treatment.

Mr Brierley said that the day before her death, Mrs Brierley had been to see a specialist in Rochdale about her back injury. She tried to "put on a brave face" and minimise her injury because she needed the consultant's approval before the IVF treatment could go ahead.

"He confirmed she would not be able to go back to her old job again," said Mr Brierley.

Mr Brierley said the day after the hospital visit he had gone work at 7am, leaving his wife in bed. He said that because they were caring for her father she was often up through the night and it was not unusual for her to sleep during the day.

When he got home at about 9pm he took a cup of tea up to his wife and she was dead in exactly the same position as he had left her.

Mr Brierley said his wife had never talked about doing herself any harm and he believed she must have got confused about the amount of medication she had taken.

"If she was going to do anything deliberate, she would have left us a note telling us why," said Mr Brierley.

Mrs Brierley's mother, Mrs Ann Yates, agreed. "If Carolyn thought about harming herself, she would have committed those thoughts to writing. She wrote everything down," said Mrs Yates.

Blood samples taken during the post-mortem examination revealed dihydrocodeine at twice the normal therapeutic level, doxipin at twice the level, tamazepam at least six times the normal level and quantities of diazepam and morphine.

The cause of death was given as drug toxicity.