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Ushaw Moor woman died after taking too much medication
A MAN wrongly accused of murdering his wife told an inquest into her death that he understood why police initially arrested him.
Patrick Mullally was taken into custody for questioning after he reported wife Tracey’s death to police on June 20.
Officers who attended the mother-of-13’s home in Skippers Meadow, Ushaw Moor, County Durham, found her body in bed.
They initially classed her death as suspicious after noticing marks on her neck and blood at the scene, along with some blood found on Mr Mullally.
But he was released without further action less than 24 hours later after a more detailed look at the scene and a post mortem examination ruled out any suspicious circumstances.
Det Con Karl Hopps, of Durham police’s major crime team, said the marks were attributed to the way Mrs Mullally had been laid and that she had suffered epileptic fits, which could explain the heavy blood loss.
Her husband came into contact with her blood when he discovered her body.
Mr Mullally, of Bear Park, said: “I understood why police had to question me, if they hadn’t I would have asked them why not.”
Coroner Andrew Tweddle, sitting at Crook Civic Centre, asked if it was possible she had intended to harm herself.
Her husband said that although she had been unwell, particularly with severe epilepsy, and had complained about leg pain she never stayed down for long.
“I’ve known her since she was 16, when suicide was talked about she always thought it was cowardly. She had a very high pain barrier,” he said.
Pathologist Mark Egan had found the cause of death was dihydrocodeine toxicity - an overdose of prescription drugs.
Mr Tweddle said: “When first reported there was clearly suspicion about what was going on, that was very understandable.
“Police inquiries in conjunction with the post mortem were quickly able to dismiss you and any thought you were involved in your wife’s death soon fell away.
“It seems she deliberately took tablets but there is nothing to suggest she intended the consequences.”
He recorded a verdict of death by misadventure.
After the hearing Mr Mullally said: “When taking medication if you don’t know the potency it can be dangerous so people need to be careful.”
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