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Tributes to ‘exceptional’ Cromer care worker who died in ‘tragic accident’

PUBLISHED: 17:46 24 September 2014 | UPDATED: 17:46 24 September 2014

Tributes have been paid to an “exceptional” care worker who was found dead in her bedroom by her brother.

Laura Swann, of Connaught Road, Cromer, worked at Dalmeny House - a care home for vulnerable adults in Sheringham.

Bosses raised the alarm when the 44-year-old failed to show up for work, and when her brother Richard Swann went to her home to check on her he found her unresponsive, fully-dressed in her bed.

The mother-of-two, who also had a grandson, died on May 27, an inquest heard today.

PC Richard Parfitt, who was called to the address, said there was no suicide note, no empty packets of pills and no obvious injuries to Miss Swann.

A post-mortem report found she died of methadone toxicity enhanced by the presence of benzodiazepines - a type of sedative - which Miss Swann had been prescribed for anxiety.

Miss Swann had not been prescribed methadone, and the post-mortem report said she had no tolerance to it.

But assistant coroner David Osborne said there was no evidence to say that Miss Swann meant to take her own life, and concluded her death was drug related.

And her devastated family believe her death was a tragic accident, and that Miss Swann had taken the methadone in a bid to help her sleep.

A statement from Andrew Millington, her partner for nine years, was read to yesterday’s inquest.

He said that two days before her death Mrs Swann had seemed in “good spirits”.

“I feel that Laura took the methadone to try to sleep and this is a tragic accident,” he added. “She had everything to live for.”

The inquest heard that their relationship had been on and off in the months leading to her death, and that she had also been involved with another man.

In a written statement, he said he had never known Mrs Swann to take methadone.

Her GP said she had a history of depression and anxiety, and there had been a single incident of deliberate self-poisoning in 1989.

Miss Swann, who was well-known in Cromer, had five brothers and one sister.

Her brother Robert Swann, 50, said: “She was a good person and worked tirelessly.

“She was very passionate about her work and was doing a lot of nights covering a lot of illness.

“I just think she made a mistake and that was somebody, I don’t know who, said ‘this will help you get a good night’s sleep’ and that’s it.”

He said she had struggled after the death of their father Peter in 2012, followed by her mother Sheila in 2013.

She had previously cared for her mother, who had Parkinson’s disease, for around five years.

But he said she would not have taken her own life, and her job was helping vulnerable adults who suffered with drug issues.

“She would always put her arm round somebody when they needed help, whether they were family or friends,” he said. “She was very much against drugs and for the right reasons.”

The medical cause of death was given as methadone toxicity enhanced by the presence of benzodiazepines.

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