Coroner: Death of woman was due to poisoning

The bomb squad dealing with a suspicious item in Stanhope Road

Police say man arrested after ‘suspicious object’ found in Stanhope Road student halls in Portsmouth is held under the Explosives Act

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A CORONER recorded a verdict of poisoning at the inquest into the death of a woman who suffocated after inhaling a toxic gas.

Karen Hall, 54, was found dead by two friends in her home in Taswell Road, Southsea, on December 19, last year.

Landlady Gail Davis and cleaner Colin Morris made the discovery after they had not heard from Ms Hall in around a month.

The alarm was raised after a neighbour said they had not seen Ms Hall for four weeks.

And officers from Hampshire Constabulary had also knocked on her door to speak to her about two hoax bomb calls she had made in November, in London.

Detective Inspector Ellie Hurd, of Hampshire Constabulary, spoke at the inquest in Portsmouth Guildhall yesterday.

She said: ‘Police gained entry with a key provided by the landlady. There were no signs of forced entry and the flat was very clean and immaculate. Ms Hall had depression and that became worse since the death of her mother.’

A pathologist’s report found there were large levels of paracetemol, cannabis and alcohol in Ms Hall’s body.

The report concluded Ms Hall’s death had been due to starvation of oxygen to the brain.

Coroner David Horseley said: ‘I think she was seriously depressed and had mental health problems.

‘My verdict is death by poisoning.’