Woman died after taking 44 gout tablets belonging to her partner

Devonshire Street, Tyne Dock.
Devonshire Street, Tyne Dock.

A woman died after taking up to 44 tablets that had been prescribed to her partner, an inquest heard.

Kerry Mullen was found dead at her flat in Devonshire Street, South Shields on February 7.

The 35-year-old shared the home with her partner from time to time and the hearing, at the Coroner’s Office in Hebburn, was told that there was a history of domestic abuse between the couple, with 30 separate reports dating back to September 2012.

Home Office pathologist Dr Jennifer Bolton said that Miss Mullen died from the effects of colchicine, a drug used to treat gout.

The doctor said there was a large level of the drug in Miss Mullen’s system and that there is a “fine line” between a therapeutic and fatal level of the drug, and that it had no recreational effects.

It is not know exactly how many tablets Miss Mullen took but it is believed it could be as many as 44 and that she took them between 36 and 48 hours before she died.

Detective Sergeant David Wakefield, then of Northumbria Police’s major crime team, said Miss Mullen’s partner was originally arrested but that the toxicology report had cleared him of any wrongdoing in the death.

Coroner Terence Carney said he did not feel Miss Mullen was aware of the toxic effect of the drug.

He said: “She has not appreciated what she has taken.

“I have no hesitation in recording this death as accidental.”