By Gwyn Wright
A FORMER Avon lady was left to die on the floor of her apartment in Mossley after she swallowed a lethal cocktail of morphine tablets and sleeping pills during a drug binge with her cousin.
Emma Edwards, 29, of Waterton Lane, had been taking the drugs with Karl Woodhead but when she collapsed, he failed to call an ambulance and fled the property.
Miss Edwards was later found dead by another friend who was visiting the flat for a sleepover.
Toxicology tests showed a high concentration of morphine in her blood, plus traces of zopiclone and the anti-epilepsy drug pregabalin.
At an inquest in Stockport, Woodhead, 38, of Mossley, was due to give evidence about the tragedy on October 15 last year but failed to show after he was admitted to hospital following a overdose of diazepam.
The hearing was told Miss Edwards who became an Avon rep in 2016 and lived alone in Mossley had been taking drugs to block out memories of bullying in her childhood.
Her mother Cheryl Edwards told the hearing: “She was a lovely, bubbly girl. She had a lot of friends but when she was poorly, she was very, very poorly. When she was bubbly, she was high on life, when she was poorly nobody saw her.
”She had had a lot of problems with her mental health going back to her childhood and I knew she was on drugs from the very start. She smoked heroin, cannabis and took a lot of tablets. I tried to help her, but she lived on her own and it would just be ‘yes mum, no mum’ and then she would do what she wanted anyway.
“She took them to hide what she was going through. She was bullied a lot at school and did not have much confidence.”
Mrs Edwards added: “I saw her the day before she died. She was very upset because her partner had not come home over the weekend and she was okay when she first turned up, and then it was as if she had taken something just before she came to see me.
“Her eyes had sunk red and she couldn’t even look at me straight. I let her have a sleep in my room, but she left at 6pm to get home. Karl Woodhead stayed there sometimes as he was homeless. A couple of weeks after she died, I bumped into him and asked him why he left her.
”He said she was still breathing at 8am but had been taking tablets the night before. He watched her do it. I don’t understand why he didn’t phone for an ambulance after taking all those tablets?’.”
Family friend Anthony Griffiths said: “It was only the first or second time I went to her house. She seemed like she was sleeping and her cousin Karl Woodhead answered the door. She was making a grunting noise and I asked Karl whether she was okay. I said she didn’t seem right and didn’t seem normal. I said: ‘we should phone for an ambulance’ and he said she had taken some tablets.
“She also told me she had taken drugs and was very honest. We had discussions about calling an ambulance, but Karl said it was normal. I didn’t know he stayed with her from time to time and continued talking to him at the property. Emma just seemed as though she was asleep and she was breathing.
“I did not fall asleep immediately as Karl was talking but I did then fall asleep and woke up the following afternoon between noon and 1pm. Karl wasn’t there and Emma was in the same place. I said ‘Emma wake up’ but she did not wake up and I phoned for an ambulance straight away. They arrived and was told me she had died.”
Senior police coroners officer Rita Wilkinson said: ‘Mr Woodhead was known to police and known to be homeless. On October 11 this year, he was admitted to Tameside Hospital after an overdose of diazepam. He had a broken ankle.
”He is aware of these proceedings but is clearly unwell. We have been trying to make contact with him, but I am not sure you would get the clarity of evidence you require if he were here today.’
Det Con Rachel Derby told the inquest: ‘’Mr Griffiths gave the same account he has given the inquest when officers spoke to him. He said he did not know Mr Woodhead and a hospital bracelet with Mr Woodhead’s name on was found on Emma’s bed.”
Conclusion: Narrative verdict. Drug related death.