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Newmarket woman, 22, dies after using cocaine

Suffolk Coroners Court, Ipswich
Suffolk Coroners Court, Ipswich

A 22-year-old Newmarket women died from a heart attack after taking cocaine.

An inquest heard Bethany Shiels had been partying with her friend Molly Stubbs until the early hours of Thursday, May 3, the day she died at the house in Granby Street, where she had been staying with her boyfriend, James McGrath, and where Ms Stubbs was a lodger.

In his statement, read at the hearing in Ipswich, Mr McGrath said the sudden death of one of their friends, Will McKenzie, just two weeks before, had ‘hit her hard’ and Bethany had been going out frequently to try and take her mind off it.

The inquest heard thatthe night before she died Bethany, of All Saints’ Road, Newmarket, and Mr McGrath had been out for a drink. She and Ms Stubbs had gone on to a party and had not returned home until around 5am.

Soon after he got home between 5pm and 5.15pm he heard Ms Stubbs scream and ran upstairs where he saw Bethany unconscious on a mattress on the floor.He tried to resuscitate her and paramedics were called but they could not save her.

A post-mortem examination revealed that Bethany, a bar worker at The Bull, in Newmarket, had recently taken cocaine and died as a result of cardiac arrest.

Toxicology tests carried out later at Imperial College Hospital in London showed the presence of cocaine and alcohol as well as twice the therapeutic amount of the anti-depressant drug, amitriptyline. The inquest heard police had discovered seven Diazepam tablets along with two unidentified tablets on a table in the room where Bethany had been sleeping.

In her statement Ms Stubbs said when she and Bethany had got in from the party they both ‘took some pills so they could go to sleep’. She said she had woken up at around 5.55pm and found Bethany unconscious.

“I tried to wake Beth up but when I rolled her over, she looked dead,” she said.

Passing on his condolences to Bethany’s family for what he called their tragic loss, senior Suffolk coroner, Nigel Parsley, said police had investigated Bethany’s death but reported no third party involvement.

He said Bethany had ‘commonly taken cocaine’ and other prescribed medication.

He recorded a verdict that her death was drug related.