THE Daily Echo first reported that the two-year-old girl had drunk methadone in October last year when the horrifying details were revealed during an inquest into the death of Miss Cooper’s boyfriend, Ashley Russell.

Miss Cooper had refused to attend the hearing so her account of how the 34- year-old came to die was read out by a detective.

He told how the night before he died, Mr Russell had been out drinking with Miss Cooper and although he didn’t use drugs, he had taken “a swig” of methadone which she took daily to try to wean herself off heroin.

She told police at the time how Mr Russell, who was not the father of the children, fell down the stairs on January 22, she tried to get him up but he insisted he just wanted to lie there and did not need medical help.

The inquest was told how both children, then aged two and six, were in the house and worried. One even put a coat over Mr Russell as he lay at the foot of the stairs at Miss Cooper’s home in Kathleen Road, Sholing, where he had been living for just a couple of weeks.

But it wasn’t until five hours later, when Miss Cooper claimed she heard problems with his breathing, that she called for help. He was pronounced dead an hour later at hospital and a postmortem revealed he died from a methadone overdose.

Giving evidence to the hearing, Det Sgt Rich Selwood described the events as “bizarre”, adding: “Five hours were effectively lost to her. He was on the floor, she was lying in front of the television. They were suffering very, very bad hangovers in her mind and she was wishing the day away. Lying around in a drunken stupor is par for the course with her, I fear.”