Inquest: Hitchin trainee solicitor died after injecting drugs

Mr Thomas recorded a verdict of misadventure.

Mr Thomas recorded a verdict of misadventure. - Credit: Archant

A trainee solicitor who had spent time in rehab died after taking illegal drugs, an inquest heard today (Wednesday).

Melissa Vallely, of Sanders Close in Hitchin, died on October 31, 2012, after injecting herself with drugs including cocaine and heroin.

The 29-year-old had previously spent three months at the Focus 12 rehabilitation centre in Suffolk, where when leaving, she had tested negative for drugs.

Coroner Edward Thomas, who was conducting the inquest at Hatfield Coroner’s Court, said Miss Vallely had been found in her home with James O’Brian, a man she had met the night before her death.

The inquest heard how the pair had both taken drugs that evening. In the morning Mr O’Brian discovered Miss Vallely was not breathing.


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He called the ambulance service and started performing CPR on her.

Speaking at the inquest, paramedic Tamsin Parker, who was the first responder at the scene, said: “I walked into the flat and she was lying on her back, there was a man there doing CPR, he was very distressed. I knew there was no sign of life.”

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Detective Inspector Peter Hankins, who was also called to the scene, said: “There were no signs of abuse or damage but we did see drug paraphernalia such as syringes. There were signs that she had injected herself. ”

A pathologist report revealed that Miss Vallely had died from cardiac failure.

“It was clear Melissa was healthy and the post mortem did not find any natural diseases,” said Mr Thomas.

Summing up, Mr Thomas added: “I think what happened was really tragic. She had gone through a rehabilitation process, she had attended a rehabilitation centre. She had stuck to the course, she was then engaged in community support after her treatment and by the time she left she was clean. This meant her tolerance levels were greatly reduced. She decided to take some drugs and there is nothing other than to suggest a brief relapse.”

Mr Thomas recorded a verdict of misadventure.

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