A MOTHER who was found dead by her partner had overdosed on a "highly potent and toxic" drug 10,000 times stronger than morphine, an inquest heard.

Michaela Wicks, 44, was discovered by her partner Paul Thomas at their home in Andover Road, Ludgershall, on April 20.

An inquest into her death at Salisbury Coroner’s Court on October 26 heard that Mr Thomas returned home from work the previous day and was unable to get into the flat they shared.

In a statement Mr Thomas said: “I arrived home at 9.30 in the evening and put my key in the door of the flat but couldn’t get in.”

The chef then called the couple’s house phone around 30 times as the door had been deadlocked before deciding to sleep on the landing.

The next day, April 20, Mr Thomas tried to call the phone again but after getting no answer he got a ladder and climbed up to the bedroom window.

“Michaela was lying down by the bed in the same clothes on as she was wearing when I left.”

Mr Thomas got into the flat through the window and tried to resuscitate his partner but was unsuccessful.

The inquest heard that heroin was found on the bed, which Mr Thomas said Ms Wicks used to take for when her back was bad.

A toxicology report showed that Ms Wicks had taken diazepam but that there was presence of heroin which was likely to have contained carfentanil – an opiate which is 10,000 times stronger than morphine.

At the hearing Ms Wicks’ daughter said that her mother was under witness protection after she had problems with drug dealers in London.

But senior coroner David Ridley said on November that after investigations this “turned out not to be the case".

Mr Ridley concluded that Ms Wicks' death was drug related, adding: “At some point during the previous 24 hours Michaela consumed heroin that more likely than not had the highly potent and toxic substance carfentanil mixed in with it.

“Michaela died from opiate toxicity although the therapeutic concentration of diazepam found in Michaela’s system would have contributed to the respiratory depression that led to Michaela’s death.

Mr Ridley added that police have now been informed of the circumstances surrounding Ms Wicks’ death and the fatal drug.