Woman dies after eight year heroin coma

A young woman who slipped into a heroin-induced coma eight years ago after taking the drug for the first time has died, it has been disclosed.

Amy Pickard was aged 17 and seven months pregnant when she went into town with a male friend in 2001 to buy a cot for her baby.

The pair were found collapsed in a locked cubicle at public toilets in Hastings town centre, East Sussex, after Amy experimented with the Class A drug.

Amy lost oxygen to her brain for 15 minutes and was taken to the nearby Conquest Hospital, where she had a baby girl.

The baby, named Summer Louise, died five days after being delivered and Amy was left in a persistent vegetative state after suffering brain damage.

A picture of her mother, Thelma Pickard, kissing her gravely ill daughter on the forehead in hospital highlighted the devastating effects of drug experimentation.

Two years ago Amy featured as part of a BBC documentary titled The Waking Pill after hopes that the drug Zolpidem could help revive her.

Weeks after taking the drug, she began to breathe by herself, instead of through a hole in her throat, she reacted to food and showed signs of awareness.

But, after years of receiving round the clock care, Amy died on October 10 at Mary House care home in Hastings, aged 25, a Sussex Police spokesman said.

Ms Pickard told the Hastings Observer: "I am in total shock. Her spirit was so strong. I have to use that strength to inspire me."