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Deadly mixture of drugs and alcohol killed TV presenter Natasha

PUBLISHED: 10:56 03 April 2008 | UPDATED: 14:55 07 September 2010

By Susanna Wilkey ST JOHN S WOOD children s TV presenter Natasha Collins died after taking a very significant amount of cocaine, an inquest heard on Wednesday. Coroner Dr Paul Knapman recorded a verdict of death by misadventure on Ms Collins, who was fo

By Susanna Wilkey

ST JOHN'S WOOD children's TV presenter Natasha Collins died after taking a "very significant" amount of cocaine, an inquest heard on Wednesday.

Coroner Dr Paul Knapman recorded a verdict of death by misadventure on Ms Collins, who was found dead in the bath in her home on Allitsen Road on January 3.

The 31-year-old fiancee of fellow TV presenter Mark Speight was found with hot water burns covering around 60 per cent of her body.

She had taken cocaine and sleeping tablets and had drunk wine and vodka at the time of her death.

Consultant pathologist Prof Sebastian Lucas gave the cause of death as cocaine toxicity and immersion in hot water.

The inquest heard how Mr Speight had called the emergency services after finding his fiancée dead in the bath when he woke up on that Thursday afternoon.

He told police they had been "partying" at home on their own and the court heard he was in a very distressed state when the emergency services arrived.

Paramedics tried to revive Ms Collins but she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr Speight was initially arrested on suspicion of murder and supplying Class A drugs but six days later the murder charges were dropped and last month police said they would take no further action against him.

The coroner said: "It is more than likely she had some heart problem while in the bath that caused her to lose consciousness and unfortunately she had the hot tap still going.

"In the privacy of their flat the couple had embarked on adventurous behaviour ignoring the risks and she has suffered the consequences by the ending of her life.

"It is a tragedy of course for all concerned. I say this is a case of misadventure."

Prof Lucas told the inquest that "high" levels of cocaine were found in Ms Collins's blood stream - within the range at which the drug can be fatal.

A statement made on behalf of Mark Speight and her mother Carmen Collins said: "Natasha was a loving daughter, fiancee, sister and friend wi-th a very positive attitude towards life.

"She was always thinking of others. We are devastated that her life was cut short and we miss her deeply.

"She will always remain in our hearts."

Mr Speight, who presented the long-running children's art show SMart, met Ms Collins on another BBC children's series See It Saw It.

susanna.wilkey@hamhigh.co.uk

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