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Death of Charlotte Ford a ‘tragic accident’, inquest hears

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A 22-YEAR-OLD from Salisbury who “lived life to the full” was found dead in her bath after a “tragic accident”, an inquest heard.

Charlotte Ford died at her home in Hudson Road on April 21.

The inquest at Salisbury Coroners Court on Monday heard the 22-year-old had recently started a job as a hospital clerical assistant and was “doing extremely well”.

Her mum Lyn Salmon said: “She did everything at a fast pace and lived life to the full and enjoyed life. She was very much into music and loved nature. She had great friends and loved to travel.”

She said she spoke to Charlotte on the morning of her death about her plans that day to go to the garage, and go with her friend Daniel Frake to see her grandmother. Charlotte had said she was tired and going to have a bath.

Mr Frake arrived at about midday to pick her up but did not get an answer when he knocked on the door. He found the front door unlocked and when he entered found her submerged in the bath.

He told the inquest he pulled her out and started CPR, then called for an ambulance. Charlotte was pronounced dead by paramedics at 12.15pm.

The inquest heard the previous night, Charlotte had gone to watch her friend Hannah Reid perform in the Market Inn, who described her as “very high spirited” and said they had drank gin and tonics.

She left the pub between 9.30pm and 10pm with Matthew Cooke and his friend. They went to his home where they had more drinks.

He told the inquest they walked back into the city centre at about 11pm and were at the Cathedral Hotel until it closed at about 2am. He and Charlotte then went back to his house. Mr Cooke said they were both intoxicated and that she left when she woke up later that morning.

Post mortem tests found MDMA in Charlotte’s system, but during the inquest Mr Cooke refused to answer questions about this.

Coroner Nicholas Rheinberg said: “Charlotte died as a result of a very tragic accident.”

He said on the night before her death she had, at some stage, taken MDMA, and on the morning of Saturday, April 21 had “passed out while taking a bath at her home and as a result drowned”.

He concluded her death was an accident. The cause of death was MDMA toxicity and submersion in water.

Mr Rheinberg warned of the dangers of MDMA, which is says was unregulated and in many cases looked like regular medication.

He said: “Unfortunately because MDMA is produced illegally, in a back street facility no doubt, the amount of the dose is entirely unknown.

“You cannot in anyway seek to measure the effect of taking MDMA based on the quantity of pills consumed. One pill can be three times more powerful than another. It is totally a matter of chance.”

He added that Charlotte “would not have known the dangers with regard to what she took”.

Charlotte’s father Steven Ford, described her as a “very thoughtful young lady”, and speaking after the inquest said: “This is obviously a tragic accident that happened to Charlotte and if anything comes out of this inquest for young people to learn from then that would be a positive.

“It is a warning to other people who want to enhance their evening with experimenting with recreational drugs to think twice about the consequences.”

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