MYSTERY surrounds the death of a woman who was suffering from chronic pain after a coroner recorded an open verdict.

Alison Margaret Clark, 49, of Barnes Wallace Close in Bowerhill, Melksham, was found dead at home by her husband on April 24.

Mrs Clark, who was heavily involved in amateur dramatics with the Melksham Comedy Club, had beaten breast cancer but still suffered from various pains.

Toxicology reports stated she had about 10 times the normal level of the anti-sickness drug cyclizine and the anti-depressant amitriptyline, to treat her chronic pain.

But her husband John maintains she was not suicidal and is at a loss as to why such high levels of the drugs were found in her bloodstream at the time of her death.

Giving evidence at an inquest held in Trowbridge Town Hall on Friday, he said: "It is a question I have asked myself quite a lot.

"My brother is head of pathology at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge and he has suggested the possibility that her physical systems were breaking down, stopping the medication she was taking so it was just building up and building up."

The inquest heard there was no evidence in the house that Mrs Clark had taken an overdose as her pill dispenser had the correct amount of tablets in it.

Her husband said although there was about 18-months' supply of prescription medication left over in the house at the time of her death, he had not found large amounts of empty pill packets lying around.

He told how he came home from work early so they could go to a meeting and found his wife on their bedroom floor, naked and kneeling in a foetal position.

He added that she took great pride in her appearance and if suicide had ever crossed her mind she would not have wanted to be found like that.

Deputy assistant coroner Nigel Brooks said: "There was no evidence of any involvement of any third party so the only conclusion is that Mrs Clark herself took those drugs.

"Her husband knew her better than anyone else and he was as sure as he could be that she didn't take her own life as it was out of character.

"To be sure of suicide I have to be sure that she knew what she was doing.

"I cannot be sure to that extent the only realistic conclusion in this case is to record what is known as an open verdict."

Verdict: Open