Mum suffering with throat cancer died after painkiller overdose

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A WOMAN suffering from throat cancer died after taking an overdose of morphine.

The body of Jeanette Jepson, 56, was found by her son, John, in the bedroom of her house Lee Terrace, Easington, on January 7, an inquest heard.

“John was in the habit of visiting each day,” Detective Sergeant Claire Hepburn, of Peterlee CID, told the hearing at the Coroner’s Court in Crook.

“She suffered from throat cancer and took Oramorph painkiller from 100ml bottles to ease her pain.

“Five open bottles were found in the kitchen.

“John said his mother did not take measured doses, but would swig from the bottle as and when she needed it.

“He felt sure she had taken too much by accident.”

The inquest heard another son, Christopher, thought his mother intended to kill herself.

“He was spoken to as part of the inquiry,” said PC Jacqueline Sirrell.

“He said his mother knew the Oramorph could be dangerous, and she knew how much she could take.

“He said she had often spoken to him about taking her own life, and he was sure that was what had happened.”

A post mortem examination found Ms Jepson died of morphine toxicity.

Recording an open verdict, Durham Coroner Andrew Tweddle said: “There is conflicting evidence from the two sons.

“They give a different picture as to what might have been their mother’s intentions.

“There are doubts in my mind as to what her intentions were.

“I don’t know if the overdose was intentional or accidental.

“The verdict must be an open one, that is not code for something sinister, there was nothing improper going on.

“It’s just that the evidence does not fully disclose the means by which she came by her death.”