“I thought she would wake up”: ‘Loving’ mum, 35, found dead at tower block had taken GHB to help her go to sleep… her partner rang a dealer before 999

A ‘loving’ and ‘bubbly’ mum found dead at a Stockport tower block had taken GHB in order to help her get to sleep, an inquest heard. Charlotte Ford, 35, was found unresponsive on the bathroom floor of her flat de ella in Offterton, which she shared with her partner de ella of four years and their young son de ella, last July.

After being unable to rouse her, her partner rang a drug dealer before calling for an ambulance a Coroner was told. John Ingram was initially arrested before detectives later concluded her death from her not to be suspicious.

A post-mortem found she had died as a result of the ‘fatal combination’ of three drugs – GHB, Methamphetamine and Codeine. A coroner said she believed Ms Ford may have used street drugs in a bid to deal with chronic pain she lived with after suffering a broken leg in an accident eight years ago.

READ MORE: Mother and her new-born baby die after being discovered ‘unresponsive’ in Travelodge hotel room

Ms Ford’s mother Lesley Ford said the ‘bad’ accident in 2014, no details of which were given in the hearing, but which left her needing to use both a walking stick and sometimes a motorized chair, was “life-changing” for her daughter . However her father de ella Mark Ford said she was a “lovely, bubbly gir” who was “very positive, very outgoing and who was loved by lots of people.”

On August 20 last year, the day before her death, Ms Ford had been a day out to Buxton with her mum and other family members, the inquest heard. She returned to her flat de ella in Beaver House, at Victoria Park in Offerton, at around 5:30 pm that evening and messaged her mum saying she would be popping round the following morning with a surprise for her.

The inquest heard Charlotte lived with chronic pain following a bad accident several years ago

Ms Ford then paid a visit to a friends’ house in Bredbury and helped her pal, who was going out for the evening, do her hair, before bringing her friends’ dog home with her.

Mr Ingram said after putting their son to bed during they watched some television and Ms Ford took her friend’s dog for a walk before both retiring to the bedroom which they shared with their son at the one-bedroom flat. He said they both then took GHB.

He said they would use the Class C drug, also known as liquid ecstasy, every few weeks as it would ‘bring you down and help you go to sleep’ and that Ms Ford used it as a ‘sleep method.’ He said when she took it she would ‘have some every hour and then when she wanted to go to sleep she would have a bit more.’

She would also sometimes smoke Crystal Meth on their balcony, he added, but he said that he did not see her consume it that night. Whilst he said she only took codeine, which she had been prescribed, for her pain from her.

After taking the GHB, Mr Ingram said he fell asleep and that when he woke up around 6am the following morning Ms Ford was not in their bed.

Mr Ingram said Ms Ford often moved to another room and went into a deep sleep from which she could not be woken up for several hours after taking the drug, and that he previously found her on the both kitchen and bathroom floor. So he said he initially had no concerns about her and assumed she must have passed out in another room.

“It happened so often I didn’t think anything different from it” he said giving evidence at the hearing “It was like the norm.” He said he took their son and Ms Ford’s friend’s dog out for a walk returning just before 7am. It was not until 8:21 a.m. that an ambulance was called to the property, the inquest was told.

Police outside Beaver House in Offerton on August 21 last year

Mr Ingram said he realized something was wrong when he went to the bathroom and was unable to rouse her. “I thought she would wake up and come round and when she didn’t after a few hours, and there was no response, when there should have been, that’s when I panicked,” he said.

Analysis of Mr Ingram’s phone showed he rang a number at 8:06am and sent a text message a minute later to the same number saying ”can you ring me mate please, it’s urgent.’ The inquest was told the number was later found to belong to someone ‘involved in the supply of drugs.’

“The number I rang was who she got the stuff off so I wanted to know if she had had any more, but I didn’t get a response,” Mr Ingram said. He sent another message to the number at 8:20am saying ‘Chaz isn’t waking up mate’ before ringing for an ambulance a minute later.

Paramedics attended but she could not be revived. Police were also alerted and the flat was cordoned off by detectives who carried out a ‘detailed investigation’ the hearing was told. A small sanitiser bottle and a Lucozade bottle both containing some liquid were found in the bathroom.

Mr Ingram was arrested, interviewed and his phone examined as part of the investigation Police Coroner’s Officer Andrew Stevenson said. It was not disclosed what offense he was arrested on suspicion of.

However, the ‘clear’ conclusion of a Forensic Pathologist that Ms Ford had died as a result of drug toxicity was saw detectives conclude no one else was directly involved and that there were no suspicious circumstances Mr Stevenson said.

The post-mortem found the level of GHB and was ‘high’ and ‘in keeping with abuse’ but was ‘at the lower end of the range seen in deaths attributed to GHB alone.’ The same applied to Methamphetamine Dr. Jamie Robinson said. He concluded Ms Ford died as a result of the ‘toxicity’ of the two drugs and codeine combined. No alcohol was found in her system.

Senior Coroner Alison said accepted the evidence of her family and was “entirely satisfied” Ms Ford had not intentionally taken her own life.

Ms Ford’s father described her as a “lovely, bubbly, girl”

She recorded a conclusion that the death was drug-related, following the hearing at South Manchester Coroner’s Court in Stockport on Friday afternoon. Ms Mutch told Ms Ford’s parents of her, who were visibly emotional throughout the hearing: “You clearly loved her very much.

“You got across her vibrancy, her love of life, and her love of her family. And it’s clear how much you did to support her in bringing up her own family. You did say that the accident she had and the pain she was in It was a big feature of her life.It’s clear she found that pain very difficult.

“She may not have gone down the route you would have wanted for her but it’s clear her pain was a part of what happened. It’s clear as codeine was in her system at the time of her death.

“Some of the medications she has also taken are not prescribed. And the difficulty that arises is that it’s not like going to Boots to pick up medication you have been prescribed by a pharmacist and which has been made in a factory with strict regulations. When you buy things off the street, you don’t know what you are getting, their strength varies, and it’s always going to be difficult knowing exactly how much is a safe amount to take.

“It is about trial and error and unfortunately in this particular case, error is what led to her death. She took too much GHB combined with the methamphetamine and the codeine. And it is the combination of the three together which has led to her death .”

Ms Mutch said Ms Ford essentially had “two lives running side-by-side” adding “she did not do it because she was a bad person, she was just managing her life in the best way she could, and I think that really came across.”

“There was nothing to anyone forced her to take the drugs she took” she added. “She misjudged the situation and paid the ultimate price.

Senior Coroner Alison Mutch recorded a conclusion that Ms Ford’s death was drug-related

“I am just sorry this situation arose where it had become okay for someone to slip into a state of unresponsiveness without anyone getting assistance for her. That must have been very hard to listen to.

“It’s also compounded by the fact it’s clear it was recognized she was unresponsive for some time before an ambulance was called.”

Ms Mutch said if an ambulance had been called when Ms Ford first slipped into unconsciousness it was “possible” it could have changed the outcome but that ‘we don’t know it definitely would have as he had taken quite a toxic level according to the pathologist.”

She added based on the evidence from the paramedics she had did not think that the 10-minute delay between Mr Ingram sending the first text message and ringing an ambulance had ‘changed the outcome.’

Following her tragic death last year, Ms Ford’s mother Lesley told the Manchester Evening News: “Our diamond of a daughter was so kind and giving and had a heart of gold. She had the biggest most beautiful personality and lit up a room when she walked in.

“She was an incredible mum to her three-year-old son, he was her world and she idolized him. She was loved and adored by so many. Our grief and loss is immeasurable.”


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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