A WINCHESTER woman, who described herself as an alcoholic and was diagnosed with depression, died after taking a mixture of drink and drugs.

The body of Laura Birch, 49, of Wales Road, was found at her home by her son on May 1, an inquest heard.

Winchester Coroner’s Court heard how Ms Birch, a care assistant, had been out drinking on the evening of April 30 and it is thought she then returned home and continued drinking, and took a number of her antidepressant tablets.

A toxicology report revealed Ms Birch had been more than four times the drink drive limit when she died, and also had fatal level of the antidepressant mirtazapine in her blood.

Ms Birch’s partner of three months, Neil Cross said: “She considered herself an alcoholic... I became aware that Laura did drink most nights.”

Pathologist Dr Balvinder Shoker told the inquest that Ms Birch also had significant narrowing in two of the three major blood vessels to her heart, which may have been a contributory factor in her death.

Recording a conclusion of drug and alcohol-related death, senior coroner Grahame Short said: “It is clear her death was a result of a combination of alcohol and drug consumption.

“She did not necessarily have the intention to take her life.”

The inquest was unable to determine exactly when Ms Birch died.