A young author died after ingesting a fatal dose of morphine just hours after discovering she was pregnant.
Writer and carer Victoria Munro confided in a friend she had taken two morphine tablets before she was found unresponsive at her home in Calmore, Hampshire.
An inquest into her death heard the 22-year-old, who penned the novel Kiss Chase about a teenage girl coping with grief, was said to have been ‘frantic’ after finding out she was going to have a baby.
Ms Munro, who was known to her friends as Tori, was found by a friend at her home on August 23.
After performing CPR on her paramedics transported Ms Munro to Southampton General Hospital, where she later died.
An inquest heard she had taken morphine, diazepam and prescribed therapeutic medication.
In a statement read out at the inquest, her friend of eight years Leonora McIntyre said Miss Munro had seemed ‘frantic’ when she discovered she was pregnant.
In an attempt to calm her down, Miss McIntyre said she had told her they would ‘take care of it.’
She said: ‘At 9pm we sat down to watch TV, and Tori started falling asleep on my shoulder so I told her to go to bed. Looking back I feel as though I should have called an ambulance but she seemed fine, just tired.’
When she entered her room a few hours later, Miss McIntyre said she had known something was wrong, adding: ‘It was really quiet and I could not see Tori breathing. Tori appeared grey and appeared could to the touch.
‘I turned on the lights and could see that she was foaming at the mouth and that’s when I called the ambulance. I was really panicking at that point.’
By comparing the handwriting on a parcel in Miss Munrio’s wastepaper bin with that on a similar parcel that arrived at her house a few days later, police concluded she must have bought the morphine and diazepam off the internet.
Giving evidence, Tori’s mother Carol Munro said her daughter seemed fine when she texted her earlier that day.
Mrs Munro added that Tori had overdosed on drugs a number of times in the past, but said: ‘I think when she was quite low it was a way of getting help. She would take an overdose and make sure someone knew.
‘But there would always be someone. She would not go out of the hospital until she had spoken to a medical health professional.’
She added: ‘I think she was quite immature for her age, and quite a vulnerable person.’
Concluding the inquest at Winchester Coroner’s Court, coroner Graham Short said: ‘The evidence is that Tori had regular support from mental health services as well as her family and her friends. She was at high risk of self-inflicted death because of the drugs that she was taking.
‘In the days before her death she appears to have had some issues which made her life worse in her own opinion. The doctor felt that she could not work alone with vulnerable people, which meant that she was not able to do the work that she wanted to do.
‘She found out that she was pregnant or in the early stages of pregnancy and had a positive pregnancy test.
‘She was in a very agitated state. It is clear that Tori bought drugs off the internet which she had not been prescribed, and from the toxicology evidence it is apparent that she had taken those drugs, specifically morphine and Diazepam in addition to her own prescribed medication.
‘There must be some doubt that she fully understood the effects of morphine. She does not seem to have used morphine in the past and probably did not have the full recognition of the effects of morphine when taking it along with the other drugs that she had been prescribed.
‘Based on those findings I will conclude on the balance of probability that this was a drug-related death.’
A statement released by her family after the inquest read: ‘Tori was a wonderful daughter and granddaughter and we are so proud of her achievements.
‘In spite of her mental health illness she managed to go away to university and complete her degree in English and creative writing, culminating in the publication of a poetry book.
‘She was kind and caring not only in her work life but to all those that knew her.’
Consultant psychiatrist Dr Paul Courtney had diagnosed Ms Munro with anxiety, depression and borderline personality disorder.
Adding that Miss Munro’s disorders had led to episodes of self-harm in the past he pointed out that the discovery of the pregnancy and her doctor’s refusal to declare her fit to work that week were both ‘coincidental’ factors, and not connected with her death.
He said: ‘She was a bright, engaging, able lady, but as her mother says, she had a degree of immaturity. I have never read her writing but I have been told she wrote exceptionally well and that she was a talented lady.
‘She was reckless in what she took, there was a consistency to that. At the time she probably did not care that those things were so dangerous.’