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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

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Heavy drinker died from liver failure, west Cumbrian inquest told

A woman who had a long-standing addiction to alcohol died as a result of liver failure, an inquest heard.

Rita Boyd, 60, was found dead in bed by husband, John, on August 23 last year, having succumbed to years of heavy drinking.

Mr Boyd was initially arrested in connection with his wife’s death after blood was found at the scene. However, he was released without charge after police officers were satisfied that there were no suspicious circumstances.

Coroner David Roberts concurred with the police’s assessment, and ruled that Mrs Boyd, of Rydal Street, Frizington, died as a result of “misadventure”.

The inquest, held at West Cumbria Courthouse, heard that Mrs Boyd drank a litre of spirits most days, before abstaining for a number of days, only to start drinking once again, repeating this process over many years. Mr Boyd was also described as “a heavy drinker”.

Their dependence on alcohol had escalated, the inquest heard, after Mr and Mrs Boyd suffered the tragic loss of their son, Daniel, who died in 2004 aged 24.

Jonathan Boyd, the couple’s eldest son, told the inquest that he had tried unsuccessfully a number of times to persuade his mother to cut down the amount of alcohol she was drinking. He described her as “a good person and a good mother”.

On the day of the tragedy, just before midnight, neighbours told how Mr Boyd stood on the doorstep of his home shouting for help when he could not wake his wife.

A number of neighbours, including Colin Graffin and Margaret Southward, went to assist, but Mrs Boyd was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

The cause of death was given as cirrhosis, an alcoholic liver disease, and other alcohol-related complications.

Mr Roberts concluded: “Consuming a lot of alcohol, abstaining, and then starting again puts strain on the body that it often cannot cope with.

“Mrs Boyd can have been under no illusion of the risks she was deliberately running.

“People have difficulty in controlling drink when it takes hold of them. She must have been addicted to alcohol and this is a great shame.”

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