Rainham nurse in overdose mystery

A FORMER nurse with mental health problems was feeling positive about her future when she suddenly took 100 strong painkillers and died, an inquest heard.

Coroner Dr Elizabeth Stearns recorded an open verdict into the death of Shirley-Ann Merritt, 52, of Roman House in Roman Close, Rainham, yesterday (October 5) at Walthamstow Coroner’s Court in Queens Road, Walthamstow.

Miss Merritt, a nurse at King George and Rushgreen Hospitals before she developed schizoaffective disorder a decade ago, was found unconscious in her flat at 1.30pm on May 11th by police.

Officers found no evidence of forced entry and a large empty box of co-codamol tablets in her kitchen bin.

Medical evidence revealed paramedics and doctors at Queens Hospital tried everything to save Miss Merritt, who was unmarried and had no children, but the pills she had taken - a dosage high enough to kill her eight times over - led to respiratory, heart and liver failure.

Her step-father Phillip Wright of Sunset Drive, Havering-atte-Bower said he could not understand why she would kill herself.

“She was making plans, she was over the moon about her new flat,” he said.

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Her mental health nurse Nicky Scanlon said Miss Merritt “seemed very happy” in the days before she died.