Peaches Geldof back on heroin for three months, inquest hears

Coroner rules out suicide, blaming death on ‘foolish and incautious behaviour’

PPeaches Geldof: her husband became suspicious she had resumed her drug habit when he found texts on her phone. Photograph: Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images

PPeaches Geldof: her husband became suspicious she had resumed her drug habit when he found texts on her phone. Photograph: Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images

Thu, Jul 24, 2014, 01:00

Peaches Geldof, the journalist, model and aid campaigner, had resumed taking heroin three months before she was found lying dead in the family home in April after injecting a nearly-pure dose of the drug, an inquest heard yesterday.

Police found 80 syringes and £500 (€630) worth of heroin in a cupboard in the 25-year-old mother-of-two’s Kent home after the alarm had been raised by her husband Tom Cohen.

She had been taking the heroin substitute methadone for more than two years, forensic scientist Emma Harris told coroner Roger Hatch, though her prescription had been reduced last November as part of efforts to wean her off all drugs.

Drug strength

The strength of the heroin she injected – which was 61 per cent pure, rather than the average quality of 26 per cent sold by street dealers – contributed to her death. Kent Police continue to investigate who supplied her with it.

“Tolerance to heroin appears to be lost fairly rapidly when users cease to use the drug, and deaths commonly occur in people who have previously been tolerant and have returned to using heroin,” Dr Harris told the coroner.

Giving brief answers to the coroner, Mr Cohen said he had become suspicious that his wife had resumed her heroin habit in February when he found texts on her mobile telephone.

Following a row between them, Geldof then revealed that she kept her store of drugs in a sweet-box hidden in the loft of the family home in Wrotham, Kent, though he watched over her as she flushed that supply down the toilet.

Speaking during the 45-minute inquest in Gravesend, Mr Cohen confirmed that his wife had been having weekly drug tests which she claimed had always been negative. “You now wonder if that was accurate,” said the coroner.

Det Chief Insp Paul Fotheringham said Geldof had been found “slumped forward onto her front with her left arm draped over an open laptop computer” sitting on the edge of a bed. Her baby son Phaedra had been left alone in the house for 15 hours.

Tourniquet

Underneath her body, police found her iPhone, a packet of cigarettes “and a pair of black tights with a knot tied in them – which can be used as a tourniquet during the injection of heroin”, he told the inquest.

Five years ago, Geldof said her drug-taking years were behind her.

Following her death, there were questions raised about a photograph she had posted on Twitter of her as a child taken with her mother, Paula Yates.

The photographs raised suspicions that she had intended suicide. Her mother, who split acrimoniously from Bob Geldof in 1996, died in 2000 from a heroin overdose.

Ruling suicide out, however, the coroner blamed the death on “foolish and incautious behaviour”.

Saying he had been given no grounds for alarm on the day before she died, her husband said she had been excited about the prospect of taking her children to a theme park.