A LOVING mother, who was found unresponsive in bed by her husband, died after accidentally taking too much morphine to deal with her chronic back pain.

Kay Slade, who lived in Stratton, was discovered face down in her bed by her husband Christopher after he had returned from a walk with their dog on the evening of June 28.

The 54-year-old housewife and mother of three suffered from a number of health problems over the years including mitral valve disease and left ventricular systolic dysfunction.

As a result, she had been prescribed multiple painkillers, including morphine, to ease the discomfort she felt, particularly with her back pain.

At her inquest, held at Wiltshire and Salisbury Coroner’s Court today, the court heard that a pathology report into her death found that her toxicology levels for her anti-depressants, diabetes and anxiety medication were expected for therapeutic usage of such painkillers.

However the report also showed that Kay had an unusually high level of morphine in her system.

The court heard that on the night before her death, Kay, along with her husband Christopher, had visited her sister’s house and it was on returning home that Kay stayed downstairs on the sofa while Christopher went to bed.

The following morning Christopher found his wife slumped up against the sofa so he helped her upstairs to rest in bed.

It is believed she then took some pain relief for her back pain.

In a statement read out to the court from Christopher, he said: “Kay was quite a sporty individual before she became unwell and in her later life she enjoyed attending TWIGS. She continued to make things at home and she enjoyed being out in the garden and spending valuable time with family especially her sister Sharon.

“Towards the end of her life she was quite unwell with her chronic back pain from having a disc removed 15 years ago and that affected her mobility.

“She had heart valve replacement surgery five years ago and it was six to eight months prior to her death that she started to have involuntary twitching.

“In the days prior to her death, she had not made any reference to anything untoward but she had been to the doctor about the twitching.

“At 6pm, I took the dog for a walk and she didn’t reply so I assumed she was asleep. I returned about 7.30pm and went upstairs to check on her. That is when I found her face down in the pillows but when I tried to wake her up she wouldn’t.”

The court heard that while Kay had previously taken an overdose over 10 years ago, since then she had never expressed any wishes of ending her life, resulting in senior coroner for Wiltshire and Swindon David Ridley ruling out a conclusion of suicide.

Mr Ridley concluded that the medical cause of death was opioid toxicity, of which was accidental.

“I think the evidence points that she took pain relief medication which would include opiate drugs,” he said.

“Whilst Kay had a degree of tolerance [to the morphine] and if she had a particularly bad night sleeping, she may have taken more than she should have taken which is more likely what happened which sadly led to respiratory depression and her death.”