Football star's ex-wife left addict to die, inquest told

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The ex-wife of the former England football captain Tony Adams left a friend to die in the back of her car while she took drugs, an inquest heard yesterday.

The ex-wife of the former England football captain Tony Adams left a friend to die in the back of her car while she took drugs, an inquest heard yesterday.

Police found Teresa Tuppen, 44, slumped in the back of Jane Shea's black BMW on 26 April at about 11.20pm. Mrs Tuppen had taken a cocktail of six drugs.

Ms Shea, who was married to the former Arsenal player for five years, was "agitated", "not coherent" and fiddling with her bag in the passenger footwell, said PC Ben Richards, who stopped the car on a routine patrol in Fulham, south-west London. He told Westminster coroner's court that Jason Gaubert, a drug addict, who was driving, was also "agitated" and laughed when he and Ms Shea were arrested on suspicion of murder. They were later released without charge.

The court was told that Mrs Tuppen, Ms Shea, Mr Gaubert and another addict, Lorraine Gerad, all met at a park near Putney Bridge at about 4pm.

Mrs Tuppen, who was unemployed and also an addict, was already in a bad state and unable to walk. The others put her in the car and then drove around for several hours trying to find her husband, Keith, Mr Gaubert told the court.

But instead they ended up at Ms Shea's home in Putney at about 6pm or 7pm and left Mrs Tuppen in the back of the car.

Mr Gaubert said she was still alive and snoring at that point. "I feel guilty and very sorry that I did not take Teresa to the hospital," he told the court. "She never got out of the car. She was snoring. Being junkies, we are selfish and just left her."

With Mrs Tuppen barely conscious in the back seat, the group left Ms Shea's home at about 10pm and dropped Ms Gerad off before they were stopped by the police. The officers had noticed that the car had no licence plate.

Detective Sergeant Karen Gallagher, of Hammersmith police station, said she could not rule out the possibility that the group had tried to dump a dead body. The Westminster coroner, Paul Knapman, asked the officer: "At about 10 o'clock maybe Teresa Tuppen was very ill, or maybe they thought she was dead and they were dumping a dead body?" Det Sgt Gallagher replied: "It is a possibility."

Ms Shea was not in court because she is in a drug programme in South Africa.

Dr Knapman recorded a verdict that Mrs Tuppen, who had one child, died from mixed drug intoxication triggered by her drug dependency. She had taken a mixture of six drugs, including cocaine and a potentially fatal dose of methadone.

He said: "This is not a good story. Teresa Tuppen started as ever with cannabis at the age of 15. She graduated through speed to heroin at the age of 18."

After the hearing Mr Tuppen, himself a recovering drug addict, said: "They should have brought her home or they should have taken her to hospital. I thought Jane was quite a decent person really before this. I did not think she would let anything like that happen to another person."