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Receptionist took own life with overdose after admitting addiction to painkillers

By This is Cornwall  |  Posted: July 28, 2010

Laura Hoskin

Laura Hoskin

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A medical receptionist killed herself after she told colleagues she had forged doctors' signatures on prescriptions in order to fuel her addiction to painkillers, an inquest heard.

After Laura Hoskin, 23, revealed her secret she walked out of the surgery and her boss launched an appeal on Facebook for family and friends to help find her.

Laura's body was discovered by her sister in her black Renault Clio in Prideux Wood, St Blazey, near the Eden Project, on June 30 last year at around 3.15pm.

Laura, who lived at Bugle, near St Austell, had worked at Polkyth Surgery in St Austell since 2005.

Yesterday the inquest at Truro was packed with family, friends and work colleagues.

A post mortem examination revealed she died from an overdose of Propranolol and Fluoxetine – both antidepressants she had been prescribed.

Empty containers of wine were found in the car.

Blood tests showed she had 66mg of alcohol per 100ml – which is below the legal drink drive limit of 80mg.

Laura had a number of problems the court heard, including alcohol abuse, coming to terms with sexual abuse she suffered as a child and more recently having to wear deaf aids.

She had been prescribed painkillers for problems with her teeth.

In a written statement read out to the court, her friend and colleague Kim Hays, told Laura that she would have to inform their bosses about the forged prescriptions. Mrs Hays, said Laura told her: "If you tell them my life is over".

Laura's mother Kathryn, said she and husband Paul were trying to help their daughter with her drinking and that she had told them about the painkillers.

She said: "She felt so ashamed. She said she was taking them every day – 40 tablets. She didn't say how she got addicted. She would take them ten at a time."

Mrs Hoskin said that by May last year they had helped Laura wean herself off the drugs.

Laura's boss Dr Penny Tempest, who launched the Facebook appeal, said there was no evidence Laura had forged prescriptions.

She said: "She was a very troubled young lady, which became more obvious in recent years. She had psychological problems."

Laura's sister Victoria, 26, a mother-of-two, was the first to find her sister in the woods.

She said: "Laura was sitting in the front seat. Her eyes were closed and she looked peaceful. I was banging on the windows and shouting at her. I thought she was drunk and had passed out."

Miss Hoskin described how she dialled 999 and flagged down a group of passing tourists, who helped her to get Laura out of the car. She performed CPR on her sister before paramedics arrived.

Dr Emma Carlyon, Coroner for Cornwall, returned a verdict that Laura took her own life. She said: "Laura had a number of life issues – hearing impairment, alcohol and pain relief and employment problems and depression for which she was being treated.

"She killed herself while suffering from depression."

Her heartbroken family issued a statement after the hearing, which read: "If you were lucky enough to have known Laura you will be remembering a gentle, big-hearted girl with an infectious giggle.

"She was very loyal and caring with a great sense of humour. Laura was a beautiful person inside and out, who is loved and missed everyday. All of the family, her boyfriend and her friends feel truly blessed to have had her in our lives."

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    Bob, St Austell  |  August 05 2010, 10:04PM

    Whilst having the greatest sympathy with Laura and her family I also find it very disturbing to hear that someone with known drink, drug and physcolgical problems was actually working in a doctors surgery with full access to prescriptions. Am I alone in thinking that there is something seriously amiss here?

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    Paul, Devon  |  July 28 2010, 6:16PM

    Once someone has touched your heart they are forever held within it, and as long as those hearts beat, their goodness and light live on.

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