Recovering Wheathampstead alcoholic died in bath

A TALENTED and well-respected woman who had struggled with alcohol addiction died in the midst of her battle to overcome the illness.

Fiona O’Mahoney, otherwise known as Fiona Morris, of Dyke Lane in Wheathampstead, died on December 6 last year while taking a bath just a day before she had planned to return to a specialist treatment centre in Wiltshire.

The inquest into Mrs O’Mahoney’s death last Wednesday, April 13, heard how the company director had recently relapsed and begun drinking again but had decided to return to the centre in Wiltshire where she had spent time previously.

She had decided to take a bath and her husband had started to run it for her before going into his study. When he heard water from the overflow splashing on the patio he went in to check on his wife and found her resting peacefully in the overflowing bath tub but she was unresponsive.

Herts Coroner Edward Thomas praised her husband’s actions as he tried to rouse her, telling him that he’d done everything right, but Mrs O’Mahoney’s heart had stopped.

Recording an accidental death, Mr Thomas said that a post-mortem revealed she was suffering from emphysema and that, combined with her prescribed dosage of anti-depressants and a high level of alcohol in her blood, meant she had suffered a cardio-respiratory arrest in the hot bath.

Mr Thomas told the family that he was in no doubt that Mrs O’Mahoney had intended to take a bath and that death was not her intention. Personal emails reveal she was keen to return to Clouds, the treatment centre, in order to continue her fight with alcoholism.

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Although her body was scalded from the hot water, evidence confirmed that she did not drown.