‘Happy, vibrant daughter’ did not intend to take own life, mum tells inquest

The mother of a young woman who was found dead at her home said she did not believe her daughter would have taken her own life.

Alexandria Mary Pierce-Baddeley was discovered at her home in Winsford by her mother Angela Dutton.

Miss Pierce-Baddeley, a 29-year-old teaching assistant, had struggled with alcohol addiction, an inquest into her death heard this week.

She was also found to have used excessive amounts of the beta blocker-type drug propranolol, and had previously sent a message to her estranged partner threatening to take her own life.

But Mrs Dutton, who gave written evidence to the hearing held at Warrington coroner’s court, said she did not believe her daughter had intended to die.

Describing her as “for the most part was a happy and vibrant young woman”, Mrs Dutton said: “I feel that her death was either down to simply one drink too many, accidental over medication or even infection from the abscess or a combination of any of these.”

Her statement said: “Alexandria loved her family. Especially her daughter. And that love was returned by us all.

“She also had a large circle of friends and for the most part was a happy and vibrant young woman.

“She was seen to be in good spirits the previous night, at 8pm clapping for the NHS with her neighbours.

“Had she made the decision (to take her own life),. she would not have done so without leaving a letter explaining why, and her wishes for her daughter.”

She added: “We knew for awhile that she was living on borrowed time, especially with her drinking getting progressively worse.”

Miss Pierce-Baddeley was found at her home in Pine Tree Close on May 1, 2020.

After calling out to her daughter and getting no response, Mrs Dutton went upstairs, where she found her daughter lying across the bed.

Mrs Dutton said she “looked asleep”, but she could tell something wasn’t right as she got closer.

She went downstairs to call her husband in, and it became apparent to the couple that Miss Pierce-Baddeley had died.

Mrs Dutton’s husband called the police, who also requested an ambulance attend.

The inquest heard Ms Pierce-Baddeley was an alcoholic and had previously had a prolonged stay in hospital because of damage alcohol had done to her health.

At the time of discharge, she was no longer drinking and remained dry for a some time, but began drinking again and was doing so up to the time of her death.

Mrs Dutton said that her daughter was on various medications, some of which caused confusion and disorientation and at times she would appear to be drunk when sober.

She had also developed a large abscess and would not venture out for treatment due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the high risk it posed to her.

She had resorted to treating herself at home with painkillers and applying a homemade turmeric paste to the affected area.

Mrs Dutton added that she was fearful of her daughter’s ability to safely manage painkilling medication due to the confused state she was sometimes in and the concern she may take too many regularly.

She added: “I can’t stress enough how much Alexandria was devoted to her daughter.

“And there was no way she would take her own life without leaving a letter or something to try and explain why.

“She had great expectations (for her little girl) for the future and wanted to be there.”

She added: “I genuinely believe that any overdose was purely accidental and not deliberate.

“It’s easy to come to that conclusion when presented with evidence that on paper certainly would indicate to be the case and, if I’m honest, had this not been my daughter and someone I didn’t know immediately, I would in all likelihood conclude suicide.”

The inquest heard from Paul Johnson, the ex-partner of Ms Pierce-Baddeley.

He confirmed that he had been in a relationship with Ms Pierce-Baddeley for ten years.

Mr Johnson said he noticed over the years that she had a problem with alcohol, and he would often come home to find her drunk.

He added that over the years her appearance changed, and added that she suffered with bulimia, becoming weak and thin.

He said she looked well when she came out of hospital, but she did start to drink again and, as a result, their relationship ended.

Mr Johnson said Ms Pierce-Baddeley had threatened to take her own life in the past but the threats ‘never felt real.’

On April 30, 2020, Mr Johnson told her he would not be getting back with her and he would not return to the address.

That evening, he received two text messages from Ms Pierce-Baddeley showing photographs of tablets.

The message he received just after 10pm made reference to propanolol’s effects on the heart rate.

Mr Johnson said he never called the police as he had experienced similar behaviour from her in the past.

He added that he tried to call her twice the next day but he was not able to contact her.

The inquest then heard from a GP report by Dr Kelly from Weaver Vale Surgery, where Ms Pierce-Baddeley was a registered patient.

He said she was first presented to the practice in 2009 with anxiety and insomnia.

However, in 2014 she seemed to be well and working as a teaching assistant, but she did have an eating disorder.

He said that in July 2015, it was noticed she was drinking to excess, drinking two bottles of wine per day.

In Autumn 2015, she was referred to Turning Point alcohol services due to her alcohol dependence problems.

By 2017 she had established alcoholic liver disease progressing to cirrhosis for which she was under regular care for.

She was last seen by the practice in May 2019 in relation to jaw pain.

He added that Ms Pierce-Baddeley was started on propranolol in October 2017 and that it was working for her and there was no indication she was abusing or overusing the drug.

The final statement came from Detective Sergeant Paul Cundy, who attended the scene.

He noted that the house appeared to him clean and tidy, with no signs of a disturbance.

Upon entering Ms Pierce-Baddeley’s bedroom, he noticed one empty wine bottle and an empty can of cider on the floor.

The room was tidy, and he was informed that there were numerous other empty bottles of wine hidden around the room.

There were no obvious empty medication packs near to the body.

Having discussed the scene with colleagues, he was satisfied that there was no evidence to suggest suspicious circumstances or third party involvement in the death of Ms Pierce-Baddeley.

Assistant Coroner, Heath Westerman, ended by giving his conclusion.

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He said that although there had been indications that Miss Pierce-Baddeley might end her life, not only just before she died but previously, those intentions were “brief, fleeting and not carried out”.

He added that there was much for her to live for and, as her mother indicated in her statement, he did not believe she would have intended to take her life without making the necessary arrangements.

He said that due to the large abscess that she was suffering from, she was perhaps treating that with overusing her own medication and alcohol.

Mr Westerman said that her fear of catching COVID-19 was also an indication she did not want her life to end.

He concluded that the consumption of alcohol and propranolol was not done with an intent to end her life.

He accepted the cause of death as propranolol toxicity, and she had suffered in the days before her death from a large mouth abscess, for which she would not visit the dentist due to COVID-19.

The coroner concluded that on the balance of probability, Miss Pierce-Baddeley’s death was misadventure.