Express & Star

Coroner: 'Why didn't police investigate woman's 'substantial' overdose?'

A coroner has questioned why police failed to investigate how a one-time aspiring model who became severely disabled got her hands on a ‘substantial’ amount of anti-depressants which caused her death.


Marilyn Allsop became a tetraplegic who could barely move without help after breaking her spine after falling down the stairs in 2008. She also miraculously survived life-threatening injuries sustained in a house fire in 2014, days after the death of her husband, which she accidentally caused by failing to put out a cigarette.

But on February 10 this year she died aged 63 at her home in Wood Lane, Wedges Mills, having taken an overdose of anti-depressants.

A toxicology report revealed she had seven times the amount of Citalopram in her system than is normally associated with a ‘high therapeutic dose’.

Coroner Andrew Haigh expressed concerns that Staffordshire Police did not attend the home when the death was reported, to enquire how she obtained such a high amount of the drugs.

The hearing also heard that previously Ms Allsop had gotten a taxi driver to purchase a painkiller for her which she drank excessively causing her family to restrict her access to it.

Mr Haigh said: "Looking at the situation now with the benefit of hindsight the police should have attended.

And clarifying his comments to the Express & Star afterwards he said: "I believe she has died from a substantial overdose of anti-depressants and I'm concerned as to how she managed to take this amount baring in mind her condition.

"Really this is the sort of thing which should have been looked at by the police."

Ms Allsop's sister in law Diane Jones said during the hearing: "The occupational therapist took a reclining chair around but when they tried to move her they got so far but couldn't put her in the chair.

"From that day she realised her mobility was getting worse and started to give in."

She added: "I am surprised she got through the house fire, she'd certainly got a tenacity and will to live but in the later part it was her own doing."

After the hearing Ms Jones said: "She used to be an aspiring model and could have been one but her life did not life up to her aspirations."

Mr Haigh recorded the death as an open conclusion saying: "I think she did want to die.

"But the circumstances of getting these tablets do leave these matters open.

"To some extent it may have come as a relief to her and her family members as well. But I am sorry she died especially after the unfortunate sequence of events she went through in that ten-year period."

A Staffordshire Police spokesman said: " We are aware of the concerns raised by the coroner and we will fully investigate the concerns raised during the inquest.

"Until a full review of the incident and actions taken we can't comment further."