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Saturday, 29 November 2014

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Cumbrian woman, 64, found dead in public toilets - inquest

An ambulance crew called after a woman was found dead in a Workington toilet had treated the victim for intoxication in the same place two months earlier, an inquest heard.

Susan Marie Lambert, 64, of Hunters Drive, Seaton, was found dead in the public toilets behind the Parksafe car park on March 4.

Simon Ward, assistant coroner for north and west Cumbria, heard that Mrs Lambert had high levels of alcohol in her system when she died.

A pathologist concluded that she had probably died of alcohol intoxication.

The inquest heard that Mrs Lambert, who was born in Workington and attended St Joseph’s School, had started drinking excessively and developed mental health issues after her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

The pair were close. Mrs Lambert helped her mother in her roles as caretaker of the priory at Our Lady and St Michael’s Church after leaving school as well as working at a factory in Maryport.

Her husband David told the inquest that his wife’s health deteriorated alongside her mother’s.

She had alcohol dependency, anxiety, panic attacks and low mood as well as pain associated with her other difficulties.

Mr Lambert told the inquest that his wife had been unwell the night before she died, suffering chest pains, but seemed okay the next day.

Around noon Mrs Lambert met her son, also called David, briefly in Workington town centre. He told the inquest he had no reason to be concerned about her that day.

About two hours later, shopper Debbie Ward and her daughter visited the toilets and found Mrs Lambert slumped in a cubicle fully clothed.

Ms Ward called 999 and attempted CPR.

An empty alcohol bottle was found in the cubicle and Mrs Lambert’s handbag contained an empty wine bottle.

The paramedics told police they had attended an incident involving Mrs Lambert two months earlier when she was found intoxicated in the toilets.

Mr Ward said: “I’m prepared to accept on the balance of probabilities that the cause of death was alcohol intoxication.

“I have heard evidence that Mrs Lambert was essentially fine until her mother developed Alzheimer’s disease, which must have been very difficult. It’s after that that she appears to have taken to drinking.”

He concluded that Mrs Lambert’s death was alcohol-related.

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