7:40am Friday 1st June 2012
By Hannah Williamson
A woman died hours after drinking with colleagues to celebrate her impending return to work, an inquest heard.
Nicola Pinks of Paxton House, Hadlow Place, Upper Norwood, was found dead by her husband Michael, hours after work friends left their home on January 20.
The 39-year-old, who worked as a customer resolutions administrator for the Hyde Group, had been signed off work with depression after complaining of being bullied by her new line manager.
Croydon Coroners Court heard on the day of her death, Mrs Pinks had been to a mediation meeting with her manager and HR and had sorted out the issues.
Steve White, chief executive of the Hyde Group, told the inquest: "The meeting seemed to go well, she opened up and it became a constructive meeting. She agreed to come back to work and expressed excitement at being able to come back to work."
The court heard Mrs Pinks was first diagnosed with depression in 2003 and was taking medication in the months before her death.
An autopsy conducted four days after she died found her blood still contained 115mg of alcohol per 100ml- more than three times the drink drive limit.
A post mortem examination gave the cause of death as tramadol and alcohol intoxication.
Recording an open verdict, Coroner Dr Roy Palmer said: "I am very sorry you lost Nicola in sad circumstances.
"There was no note left and she had made lots of plans for the future. She had not been expressing any ideas of killing herself.
"I am far from satisfied so that I am sure she meant to kill herself.
"She had a lot to drink was taking tramadol, whether she misjudged the dose we will never know for sure, but I do not have the evidence to reach any other conclusion."
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