A CORONER has recorded a verdict of death by misadventure after a Halesowen mum-of-three overdosed on drugs given to help her “agonising” back pain.

Wendy Yafai was found dead in bed on January 4 – just two weeks after being hospitalised due to severe back pain.

The 42-year-old single mum had been prescribed a host of medications to try to minimise the pain she had been suffering after injuring back while moving a wardrobe downstairs with a friend, Black Country Coroner’s Court was told.

Her GP, Dr Sarah Allen, of St Margaret’s Well Surgery, told how various painkilling medications had been prescribed in the months leading up to the tragic death of Mrs Yafai, who was self-employed and who had been left unable to work since the pain began a few days after carrying the furniture.

The much-loved mum, who grew up in Stourbridge, was hospitalised on two occasions due to the pain – first for a few days in November and later for 12 days in December.

An MRI scan in mid-November highlighted degenerative changes in her back and shortly before her final admittance to hospital she had complained of numbness in her left foot and thigh.

Her daughter Charlotte Yafai told the court her mother had been in “absolute agony” and she added: “She couldn’t walk, she couldn’t even put her foot to the floor.

“She just wanted help. She wanted something - whether it be an operation, she just wanted to get better so she could look after her kids and get back to work. She was desperate.”

She told the hearing she had been worried about the quantities of drugs her mother had in the house especially morphine based Oramorph.

Miss Yafai said: “It’s a controlled drug - Oramorph. She should have had somebody come to the house and give it to her or give her smaller bottles.

“She had a 300ml bottle in the house a few times, she shouldn’t have been left in the house with that just next to her bed for her to just swig out of to take the pain off; that’s going to kill anybody.”

She said her mother would often take more medication than the prescribed amount and the court heard how Mrs Yafai had at times taken medication belonging to friends to help ease her pain.

Her daughter continued: “She was not in the right frame of mind, she didn’t know what medication she was taking. She wouldn’t remember how much she’d taken, what time she’d taken it. I’d get home from work and ask her and she wouldn’t have a clue. And then she’d take another lot because she wouldn’t remember taking the last dose, so she was always off her head on different medications. She should have been administered this drug.

“She just should not have been given the medication she was given while she’d got with three children to care for and not knowing what day it was.”

She said she would often pour the large bottle of Oramorph away or hide it if she found it in the house as she was worried her mother wouldn’t take it as prescribed and she added: “She must’ve, on the night before she died, had a sip of her Oramorph and it just stopped her heart from beating and killed her.

“She should not have had that in the house – that bottle used to scare me.”

She said she and her aunt had made repeated calls to medics to highlight their concerns about the situation – especially as Mrs Yafai, who had confessed she had been in a low mood, had taken two intentional overdoses in 2011 and 2012.

The court, however, was told her depression had stabilised since 2017 with anti-depressant medication and her GP did not believe she was suicidal.

Mrs Yafai’s daughter added: “She’d always been active looking after us kids - doing everything, she was such a hard worker. For that to stop and be in bed every day really brought her down.”

But she stressed her mother “didn’t want to take her life” and she added: “She’d never do that – it wasn’t intentional whatsoever.”

Assistant Black Country coroner, David Urpeth, said: “I understand the concerns raised by the family - that they worried she was not able to manage her own medication but I have no evidence before me that this was an individual not capable of managing her own affairs. It is not unusual for such an individual to be given medication and to manage them.”

He said he was satisfied Mrs Yafai had not intended to end her life and he said she had on one occasion told an ambulance crew that she had taken all of her days’ medication in one go to try to manage her pain and he added: “It’s entirely understandable Mrs Yafai was desperate to control the pain and sadly I believe she has taken too much medication in an attempt to manage that pain and that has led to toxicity and her death.”

He said the official cause of death was heroin poisoning and recorded a verdict of death by misadventure and he added: “Mrs Yafai was a young woman. It must’ve been extremely difficult to deal with pain that’s at such a level you are effectively housebound.

"It is perfectly understandable as to why she would have taken medication in an ad hoc and potentially haphazard way. When people are in tremendous pain they will do whatever they can to try to manage that pain.

“Her death is tragedy for her and for all those that she leaves behind.”