Hastings woman found dead in her kitchen

A Hastings woman was found dead in her kitchen after taking a combination of drugs and alcohol, an inquest has heard.

Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 1:21 pm

Jennifer Lowndes, 38, was found by her fiancé slumped on the kitchen floor of her Priory Road flat on August 17, 2019.

At an inquest into her death, held on Tuesday (January 7), the court was read results of a toxicology report which found she had a combination of alcohol, morphine, amitriptyline and methadone in her system at the time of her death.

She had 151 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath – the drink drive limit is 80 – ‘therapeutic levels’ of morphine (0.09 micrograms per litre), amitriptyline and 0.21 micrograms of methadone per each litre of blood, the inquest heard.

Police

Senior coroner for East Sussex Alan Craze said no substance alone was in ‘excess’ but the combination of the four had the effect of depressing Ms Lowndes’ central nervous system.

The court heard Ms Lowndes had been drinking vodka and coke with her flatmate Paul Gough the night before her death.

After a couple of drinks, Mr Gough said, Ms Lowndes slumped forward off her chair and landed on the kitchen floor.

Mr Gough said he had never known Ms Lowndes to fall asleep while drinking. He said he collected a blanket and pillow for her from his room before he went to bed.

Ms Lowndes’ fiancé Colin Grainger said he had gone to sleep earlier in the night after a couple of drinks. He told the court he had woken at 10pm and found Ms Lowndes and Mr Gough still in the kitchen. After attempting to wake Ms Lowndes, he said he returned to bed.

After waking up early the next morning, Mr Grainger, who had been in a relationship with Ms Lowndes for 15 years, said: “I walked into the kitchen and saw her (Ms Lowndes) on her knees on the floor. I wondered what she was doing as she had her head on the floor between the washing machine and the freezer.

“I thought she must have passed out. I tried picking her up but she was cold and clammy.

“I knew she had passed away. I called 999 and asked for an ambulance.”

Ambulance crews arrived but Ms Lowndes was pronounced dead at the scene.

Martin Mann, police investigations supervisor for Sussex Police, told the inquest that investigating officers had been able to trace the source of the methadone to another individual but found no foul play or third party involvement in Ms Lowndes’ consumption of the drug.

Mr Craze returned a conclusion of alcohol-and-drug-related death.

He passed his condolences to Ms Lowndes’ family who were present at the inquest.