A loving mum and sister whose son found her dead at their Carlisle home was let down by doctors and mental health services, her sister told an inquest.

Lorraine Shepherd, 64, who had struggled with her mental health for years, was found dead in her bedroom by her son on the morning of May 31 last year.

She had suffered respiratory failure linked to her use of alcohol and her prescription medication.

Miss Shepherd’s energy had been sapped by her mental health problems, said her heartbroken sister Pauline Sloan.

Miss Shepherd was a kind and caring sister, who had looked after her siblings after their mother died, said Mrs Sloan. She was shocked by her sister’s weight loss when she last saw her in March last year.

“She was skin and bone,” she said. “I was shocked. I feel Lorraine was let down by her GP surgery and by the mental health team. They must have seen the decline in her appearance but nothing was ever done about it.

“I feel that if she’d had more support from other agencies it might have made a difference to how her life ended up.”

Miss Shepherd had monthly injections to keep her stable but did not always attend them. “That should have rang alarm bells,” said Mrs Sloan.

The Cockermouth inquest heard from Miss Shepherd’s son John, who was her carer and lived with her at Cant Crescent, Upperby.

The day before the tragedy, he visited a friend. That evening, Miss Shepherd arrived there, clearly drunk. She was asked to leave.

Once he got home again, Mr Shepherd checked on his mother, finding her lying down in her bedroom.

Before going to bed himself, he checked on her again. “I didn’t realise how serious the situation was,” he said, admitting he too was drunk.

He found his mother’s body the following morning.

Witnesses spoke of how distressed he was, and his attempt to resuscitate his mum. Coroner Kirsty Gomersal said Miss Shepherd’s death was alcohol and drug related.

She was a loving mother, sister, and aunt, said the coroner.

She added: “It’s clear she struggled with her mental health for a large number of years but she was compliant with her medication.

“It’s likely she took more than prescribed but there’s no evidence she intended to overdose or deliberately self-harm. There were no suspicious circumstances or third parties involved in her death.

“It appears to have been a tragic, unintended event.”

The cause of death was respiratory depression, complicated by alcohol toxicity, and her use of antidepressant and sleeping medication. Miss Shepherd was discharged from mental health services in May, 2017, saying she did not want their help.

A Cumbria Partnership spokeswoman offered condolences, saying the coroner addressed the family’s concerns. “We are happy to arrange a meeting with the family in order to give them further reassurance,” she said.