Woman tried to cure headache with drugs

Oxford Coroner's Court
Oxford Coroner's Court

A 27-year-old woman from Banbury died as a result of alcohol and drugs after she tried to cure a headache following an alleged assault, an inquest has heard.

Annmarie Gale of Dover Avenue was found unresponsive at a property in Dover Avenue at about 4.55pm on January 15, and despite attempts by a housemate and paramedics to resuscitate her, she died at the Horton General Hospital in Banbury later that evening

at about 6.50pm.

At a hearing at Oxford County Hall on Tuesday, a post mortem report found mother-of-one Miss Gale to have a high level of alcohol in her body and a combination of antidepressant drugs which police say may have been used to cure the headache following the alleged assault believed to have happened a few days before.

The incident was initially treated as a murder investigation by Thames Valley Police based on the injuries to Miss Gale, which included a black eye and a head injury.

However, speaking in court, detective sergeant Steve Clark of Thames Valley Police said: “It was initially treated as a murder investigation due to the unknown circumstances of her death and the evidence of a black eye.

“However we can now accept there was no foul play or criminal activity.

“There was no witnesses, evidence or eye witnesses to any kind of incident,” he added.

It was heard Miss Gale, who had a history of alcohol problems, phoned West Bar Surgery on January 13 to try and book an appointment after telling them she has been beaten up a few days before and had been suffering from headaches for three days.

The court heard how doctors at the surgery tried to get her to attend an appointment, but to no avail.

Marie Preedy, Miss Gale’s mother, told the court how she saw her daughter every day, who was always drunk.

On January 14 Miss Gale was in Byfield visiting her father before Miss Preedy received a phone call from West Bar Surgery asking her to bring her daughter for an appointment.

Miss Gale returned back home later the same day in a drunken state, and saw her mother for the last time at about midnight.

Ms Preedy then got a phone call the next day from a friend of Miss Gale asking her to come down to her daughter’s house, saying ‘things were bad’.

She walked towards her daughter’s home to see emergency services outside the house and paramedics trying to revive Miss Gale inside.

Another statement from DC Chris Bolger of Banbury CID said how one of Miss Gale’s housemates had been with her during the day of her death and said she was drunk but in a normal state.

After he left the property for a couple of hours he returned to the house to find her lying on the floor. Thinking she was drunk, he took her to her bedroom before noticing her fingers had started to turn purple and he called 999.

Oxfordshire coroner Dan Salter recorded a verdict of death by alcohol and drugs.

He said: “She clearly had a problem with alcohol and it is uncertain where she got these drugs from.

“She took them in the hope they would reduce the headache but unfortunately being intoxicated with alcohol she has overdosed which has led to her death.”