Mum, 28, dies after taking cocaine on night out while children were at sleepover

Tara Culley, from Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, was found unconscious in bed by her partner less than 30 minutes after sending him a text and despite efforts to save her she was pronounced dead in hospital

A mum of two died after consuming alcohol and cocaine during a night out while her children were having a sleepover, an inquest heard.

Tara Culley, 28, rarely socialised with friends – but she drank lager and snorted cocaine over a 15-hour period whilst the youngsters and her boyfriend’s daughter were being babysat by their grandmother.

After a night out in her local pub the housewife and friends stayed up until 9am, but she was found unresponsive in bed later than evening – two hours after the three children returned home.

Miss Culley, from Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, was taken to Royal Bolton Hospital but died in the early hours of the following morning.

Tests showed she had alcohol in her system plus traces of cocaine consistent with “recreational” use.

An inquest heard the tragedy occurred on August 15 last year after Miss Culley and her partner of eight years Alan Roe had gone out to their local pub for a pool tournament.

Mr Roe told the hearing: “She was a very caring and loving mother to our children and she enjoyed family days out.

“She didn’t often go out with friends, but if she did she would drink excessively and she would also, from time to time, take cocaine, although she would not drink or take drugs when looking after our children.

On August 14, 2018, we went out. I would play pool for a pub team and, on this occasion, I arranged for her to come with me and meet friends. I arranged for my mum to look after the children overnight so we would have a sociable evening.

“We got to the pub at about 6pm and we had a few drinks and socialised with our friends. Tara bought her own drinks and she stayed in the same area of the pub socialising with her friends.

“She bought some cocaine in the evening, but I don’t know how much or where she got it from. We left the pub around midnight and we stopped off to buy alcohol on the way home.

“We carried on drinking alcohol and she took cocaine at that point. The friends who came back with us left and Tara went to bed at 9am. I stayed up to get ready for the children to come back that evening and she remained upstairs in bed.

“The children got back at 7pm and I was aware she was awake at that time because we were sending text messages to each other. She was asking why the kids were not in bed.

“They went to bed at 9pm and I said I would be in bed soon. The last text she sent me was at 9:36 and I replied at 9:47 and then went up to the bedroom about ten minutes later.

“When I went into the bedroom, I saw Tara and I realised that she was not conscious so I called 999 and I tried to resuscitate her. There was no evidence of recently consumed drugs or alcohol in her room.

Tara was very much her own person who would not be led or persuaded to do anything against her wishes.

“The cocaine was purchased by her of her own will. She was a caring and loving person, a good partner and loving mother to her children.”

In a statement, Miss Culley’s GP Dr Peter Thomas said: “I have become aware that prior to her death, Tara had consumed cocaine. This is the first time I have been aware of any substance misuse from her.”

Senior Coroner’s Officer, Paul Lever, said: “I found out Tara had been out with Alan for most of the evening. Alan said that she consumed a lot of alcohol and a bit of cocaine.

“It’s clear from the emergency phone call that Alan did try to resuscitate her for some period of time, but she was taken to the hospital where she unfortunately died. Her father came to the hospital and he had no idea she took cocaine.”

A post-mortem test showed Miss Culley had died of acute cardiac failure, partly caused by cocaine use.

Toxicologist, Julie Evans said: “The alcohol level was low and I didn’t have evidence of a large overdose – it looked more like what you would see from recreational use.

But cocaine is a stimulant and can cause cardiac problems, which can have a significant effect on your heart. So, while there was no evidence of a overdose, I did consider the cocaine’s role in her cardiac arrest.”

Recording a conclusion of drug-related death, coroner Peter Sigee said: “While in the pub, and afterwards, Tara consumed cocaine which she had purchased for herself. She drank alcohol and carried on socialising until 9am when she went to bed in her home.

“While there was evidence of cocaine use, there’s no suggestion that it was taken against her will. On the night of August 14 and 15, she voluntarily consumed cocaine on a recreational basis. I am satisfied her death was drug-related.”