Alcohol and medicine mix killed Trowbridge woman who had 'beaten' self-poisoning

Amy Ratnett, who died after drinking heavily during a night out

Amy Ratnett, who died after drinking heavily during a night out

First published in Trowbridge by

A Trowbridge woman who said she had won her battle with self-poisoning, tragically died weeks later when she went out binge drinking in a bid "to act normal," a coroner heard today.

Amy Ratnett, 29, revealed in November last year that she had taken overdoses and self-harmed regularly since she was 20 but was now trying to help others beat addiction through her online blog.

A former John of Gaunt pupil, she told her story in Cosmopolitan magazine and in an interview with the Wiltshire Times, in which she said: "I would overdose on the Friday night, spend the weekend in hospital and be back at work on Monday.

“I never wanted to kill myself, it was an addiction.”

“They tried to understand, especially my dad, but they couldn’t.

“They thought I was trying to kill myself but I wasn’t. 

"I set up the blog to let people know they are not alone.

“I want to advise people to get help – you can’t do it on your own. I would still be doing it if I had not got help.”

Today Peter Bedford, the Berkshire coroner, recorded a verdict of misadventure after hearing that the four cocktails and half a bottle of vodka she drank fatally combined with her medication.

Miss Ratnett travelled on the train from Trowbridge to stay over with friend Fay Trezise in Reading on January 17, the inquest heard.

Miss Trezise told the inquest in a statement that they had gone out for dinner and had four cocktails before returning to her flat and drinking vodka together.

She then told how her friend became "paralytic" and she put her to bed, only to find her slumped against the bedroom door the following morning.

"I was shaking her, saying her name repeatedly but I got no response," said Miss Trezise.

"I then realised her skin was cold to the touch. I called my mum for advice because she is a doctor and she said, 'call 999 straight away,' The paramedics gave me the awful news that Amy had died."

Just weeks earlier, Miss Ratnett had given the interview about her battle with mental health problems and her bid to raise public awareness through her blog.

She had been making marked improvements in the months before her death, according to mental health experts who were positive about her future.

However, she was still taking a heavy mix of anti-depressants and sleeping pills when she went out drinking on the eve of her death.

Her devastated father, Paul, told the coroner: "She just wanted to be normal."

The inquest heard Miss Ratnett was still taking the anti-depressant fluoxetine, olanzapine, which is used to treat schizophrenia, zopiclone for insomnia, and diazepam for anxiety.

A pathologist concluded the drugs proved fatal when mixed with alcohol, causing her vital organs to shut down while she slept.

Mr Bedford said: "Effectively, alcohol has caused her to become unconscious. She would never have woken up."

Miss Ratnett's parents, Paul and Diane, were present at the inquest in Reading but did not comment afterwards.

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