Inquest Story of Conisbrough Woman’s Suicide – Drug Overdose

April 1956

South Yorkshire Times April 14 1956

Drug Overdose
Inquest Story of Conisbrough Woman’s Suicide

Shortly before taking an overdose of sleeping tablets a Conisbrough woman told her next door neighbour she would like a word with her. When the neighbour called the woman was unconscious and died shortly afterwards. This was the story revealed at a Conisbrough inquest on Friday held on Mrs Isabella Curtis (59), widow, of 9 Daylands Avenue.

Richard George Colin Curtis of the same address said his mother had not had good health and had been ill for a few years. She had blood pressure and heart attacks and had worried considerably since her husband died. His mother had complained of pain in her head and Dr Bell had prescribed sleeping tablets for her.

On Wednesday last he came home from work about 6 o’clock and his mother appeared all right. About 9.30 she said she was not feeling well and went to bed. He got up at about 6:45 a.m. next day and his mother called him as he was going downstairs telling him about a light he had left on. He left for work about 7.30 leaving his mother in bed. He was told the same morning she had died.

Witness told the coroner he found some boxes of tablets in a cupboard and in some drawers where she kept some. He had seen a note which was in her handwriting and also a letter which was going to be sent to his sisters.

Mrs Gladys Wheatley, of 7, Daylands Avenue, Conisbrough, said she was Mrs Curtis’s next-door neighbour. On Thursday morning about 7.45 a.m. Mrs Curtis came to her door with the letter addressed to her daughter at Ripon. She asked Mrs Wheatley if she would post a letter and she complained of not feeling well.

Witness said she told Mrs Curtis she did not look well and told her she should go and sit down. Mrs Curtis told her to go in and see her before she went out.

The said she went in to see Mrs Curtis about 8.45. She got no reply to her knocking so she went into the house and found Mrs Curtis lying on the floor unconscious.

She summoned neighbours and Dr Clarke and Mrs Curtis was taking to her bedroom where she died about 9:40 a.m. She noticed the note after Dr Clarke had gone when she was tidying up.

Dr M. D. Innis, pathologist, who performed a post mortem examination, said death was due to barbiturate poisoning and the colour of the powder he had found was consistent with the capsules woman had.

Sgt P. Johnson, of Conisbrough police, gave evidence of finding boxes of tablets and of their contents.

The district coroner (Mr W. H. Carlile) said that from the evidence they had heard there was no doubt the woman took an overdose of barbiturates and it was clear that her intention was to take her life from the note she left and also the matter.

He recorded a verdict of “suicide while the balance of the mind was disturbed.”