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Cocaine use caused death of Hackney woman

PUBLISHED: 16:25 06 November 2014 | UPDATED: 16:25 06 November 2014

Poplar Coroners Court

Poplar Coroners Court

Archant

A coroner has ruled out heroin as a factor in the death of a 34-year-old woman.

Poplar Coroner’s Court heard last Wednesday how Vivene Maxwell died at her home at Lynton House in Green Lanes, Finsbury Park, in May this year.

Ms Maxwell was known to suffer from bipolar disorder and a statement from her GP said she was receiving treatment for the illness.

She was also a user of crack cocaine, although she was in sporadic contact with a centre that helped her cope with drug-related issues, housing support and employment mentoring in periods of abstinence.

But claims she also used heroin distressed her friends and family present at the inquest, who said she would never touch the drug.

Pathologist Professor Peter Vanezis reported to have found cocaine and codeine in Ms Maxwell’s system and concluded heroin played a factor in her death.

But Coroner Dr Richard Britain said in his verdict that he had decided to remove suspected use of heroin from the medical cause of death due to lack of evidence, linking the codeine traces to Ms Maxwell’s bipolar medication instead.

He said: “We do know she had problems with cocaine, this is present in the toxicology report and was found beside her during her death. The medical cause of death is cocaine intoxication.”

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