Paula Yates 'died of heroin overdose'

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TV personality Paula Yates died from a heroin overdose, a coroner ruled today.

TV personality Paula Yates died from a heroin overdose, a coroner ruled today.

Dr Paul Knapman said it was the result of "an unsophisticated taker of heroin" using drugs.

Westminster Coroner's Court in central London heard that 0.3mg of morphine per litre of blood was found in her body, which would not have been enough to kill her had she been a heroin addict.

"The evidence does not point towards this being a deliberate act of suicide," said Dr Knapman.

"It seems most improbable that she would attempt to kill herself with her daughter in the house. Her behaviour was foolish and incautious at that time."

Today's hearing came almost two months after the 40-year-old was found dead in the bedroom of her home in Notting Hill, west London.

Detective Inspector Michael Christensen told the court that brown power containing heroin had been found on the presenter's bedside table.

A £5 note containing traces of cocaine was also discovered in her bedroom.

Miss Yates was found by close friend and journalist Mrs Fairley Sams.

In evidence Mrs Fairley Sams said that Miss Yates had seemed "a bit stressed", when they had spoken on the Thursday before her death because she was due to tell her friend Mrs Brewin that she was to appoint a full time press agent to take over the job that Ms Brewin had been doing informally.

"But she was in an extremely positive frame of mind and when I saw her she was very upbeat. She wanted to get the meeting with Belinda sorted."

She said when they last spoke at 7.30pm the night before Miss Yates was found dead, she had at first sounded "a little bit slurred".

"I said 'are you okay', and she said 'yes, I've just got a house-full of kids'.

"But when she went upstairs to talk she was perfectly fine and compos mentis."

Mrs Fairley Sams said she called again at 8am the next morning but Miss Yates' daughter Tiger Lily answered the phone and said that "mummy was still asleep".

"I phoned back at nine and Tiger said mummy is still asleep."

After trying for a third time at 9.25am she decided to go round to the house and try to wake Miss Yates herself so she could wish her daughter Pixie a happy birthday.

"I phoned Tiger to come downstairs and let me in. She stood on a chair to open the door.

"I rushed upstairs expecting to tell Paula to wake up and took one look at her from the doorway and knew she was dead.

"She was naked half in and half out of the bed and a very strange colour for a human being."

Mrs Fairley Sams said by the time Tiger Lily had come up she had composed herself and stopped her from entering the bedroom.

Mrs Fairley Sams said she had the impression that Miss Yates was not addicted to drugs in the period before her death.

"I saw her every day and she was in extremely good form."

Pc Mike Bryant, who was the first officer on the scene, said there was no sign of anything suspicious on the body but next to the bed he found the brown power which he brought to the attention of the CID.

Pathologist Dr Ian West, who carried out the post-mortem on her body said there were no injection marks and no sign that she abused drugs.

He said that tests showed she had 0.3miligrams of morphine per litre of her blood, which would not have been enough to kill a regular heroin user who would have tolerance, but could kill somebody not used to taking it.