14/08/2014 12:55 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Toddler Found In House With Mum's Body After Prescription Drug Overdose

Toddler found in house with mum's body after prescription drug overdose

A three-year-old girl could have spent two days alone with her mother's body after she died from an overdose of prescription drugs at their home, an inquest heard.

The Macclesfield hearing was told that Sarah King could have been lying on the floor of her home in the village of Mow Cop, near Stoke-on-Trent for up to two days before her body was found by her boyfriend Gary Eastell.

Mr Eastell had become concerned when his text messages to Ms King went unanswered.

He told the inquest that he arrived at the house and found the door unlocked, and the three-year-old girl inside with her mum's body.

Mr Eastell said: "The home was a mess. But that was because she was fending for herself. She had got food in the room. Sarah was normally spotless."

The court was told that Ms King had a long history of depression and had received psychiatric help. She had reportedly had several bouts of the illness, going back to the 1990s.

Ms King, who worked as an Avon lady, had last made contact with her family and friends two days before her body was discovered in May this year.

She had sent a text to Mr Eastell after spending time with him on the May bank holiday weekend.

"It was a Bank Holiday Monday. We had a nice day and walked by the canal. She seemed OK," he told the inquest, adding that later that evening, he received a text from her asking him to tell her that he loved her.

He said he had planned to reply the following day, and when he didn't hear any more from her assumed that she was just 'in a bad mood'.

The woman's sister Hilary Coles and her father Peter Austin told the court they had also been repeatedly trying to reach her, and had asked a friend to go and check on her, but by then it was too late.

Mr Austin, from Congleton, said: "At about 10.50pm, my mobile phone rang. It was the police telling me what they had found."

A post-mortem examination revealed Sarah died from drugs toxicity linked to an anti-depressant.

The Stoke Sentinel reports that Cheshire's deputy coroner Jean Harkin recorded a verdict of misadventure and said she was satisfied that the mum took the tablets, but not that she intended to end her life.

"On the balance of probability, she took the tablets, perhaps after an argument, meaning to frighten rather than take her life," she said.