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Wednesday, 8 November, 2000, 12:25 GMT
Heroin overdose killed Yates
Paula Yates and her daughter Tiger Lily
Daughter Tiger Lily has been made a ward of court
Paula Yates died of non-dependent abuse of drugs after taking heroin, the inquest into her death has recorded.

The television presenter - who was brought up in Conwy, north Wales - was found dead at her home in Notting Hill, west London, on 17 September.

Coroner Dr Paul Knapman told Westminster Coroners Court she had not committed suicide but said her behaviour had been "foolish and incautious".

Belinda Brewin
Friend Belinda Brewin attended the inquest
Her death was the result of "an unsophisticated taker of heroin" using drugs, he said.

The court heard that 0.3mg of morphine per litre of blood was found in her body, which would not have been enough to kill her had she been a heroin addict.

Detective Inspector Michael Christensen told the court that brown power containing heroin had been found on the presenter's bedside table.

A 5 note containing traces of cocaine was also discovered in her bedroom.

He said police had made inquiries about the illegal drugs but, at present, no one had been charged.

Earlier the presenter's close friend Belinda Brewin told the inquest Ms Yates, 41, had not taken illegal drugs for nearly two years, but had started again the day before her death.

'Slightly incoherent'

She said Ms Yates had been "staggering" and was "slightly incoherent" when she had visited her on 16 September.

She had blamed her relapse on the pressure of being in London.

Mrs Brewin said when she left, Miss Yates was not in a good state but was "quite coherent".

Mrs Brewin said that after her visit she found out that another friend of the presenter, Charlotte Korshak, had been in the house at the time.


Flowers were laid outside Yates' house in west London
She said she telephones Ms Korshak to ask her why she had not made herself known during the visit and that she had said she was asleep.

Ms Korshak told the inquest that she had attended the Priory Clinic, Roehampton, in 1999 because of her difficulty with heroin addiction.

She said she knew Miss Yates had taken illegal drugs in the past and was told that she had taken heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and acid.

And Ms Korshak told the court that on 16 September she went to see Ms Yates, having not seen her for some time.

She said she took a quarter bottle of vodka with her but Miss Yates did not have any and she finished the bottle herself.

'In good spirits'

Afterwards she went to sleep in Miss Yates' bedroom, and said she was unaware Mrs Brewin had visited.

Asked if Miss Yates had been under the influence of drugs, Miss Korshak said: "No, I was quite drunk, but I did not see her take anything."

She said when she left the house Ms Yates was in good spirits.

The coroner asked her "if she had supplied Miss Yates with illegal drugs in the days before her death". Miss Korshak said: "Absolutely not."

Miss Yates was found by close friend and journalist Josephine Fairley Sams.

Mrs Fairley Sams told the inquest she had gone to Ms Yates' house on the morning of 17 September after she had telephoned her three times and her daughter Tiger Lily had said she was asleep.

Michael Hutchence
Michael Hutchence was found dead in Sydney in November 1997
"I phoned Tiger to come downstairs and let me in," she said.

"I rushed upstairs expecting to tell Paula to wake up and took one look at her from the doorway and knew she was dead.

"She was naked half in and half out of the bed and a very strange colour for a human being."

Mrs Fairley Sams said she had the impression that Miss Yates was not addicted to drugs in the period before her death.

Pathologist Dr Ian West, who carried out the post-mortem on her body, said there were no injection marks and no sign that she abused drugs.

The inquest into Ms Yates death was opened on 20 September but had been adjourned for further tests.

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See also:

06 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Hutchence 'bad influence' on Yates
31 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Hutchence mother blasts Yates
18 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Paula Yates: Life in pictures
17 Sep 00 | UK
A life in the spotlight
17 Sep 00 | UK
Tribute to a 'wild child'
17 Sep 00 | UK
Yates' turbulent loves
18 Sep 00 | UK
Paula's forgotten legacy
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