Kingston police volunteer caught smoking cannabis with drug dealers died of overdose, inquest rules

Nicole Robertson died after taking a fatal dose of painkillers

Nicole Robertson died after taking a fatal dose of painkillers

First published in News Surrey Comet: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy editor

A young police volunteer died from a lethal dose of painkillers shortly after officers caught her drinking and smoking cannabis with known drug dealers.

Kingston University student Nicole Robertson, 19, was found dead on April 18, 2013, the night after a gathering in her room was broken up by police in the early hours.

At an inquest on Tuesday, West London Coroner’s Court heard how police officers told the second year criminology student her current lifestyle “was not compatible” with a future career in the force, and that because she was a volunteer at Kingston police station, the incident would need to be reported.

Her body was found in her bed in Victoria Road, Norbiton, the following evening.

An unsent text message, which coroner Chinyere Inyama described as a possible suicide note, was also found on her phone.

Robert Merrett, acting inspector for Kingston police, said officers only called by the house as they were investigating reports of a series of thefts from cars in the area.

But they found Ms Robertson drinking and smoking cannabis in her room with three men – two of whom were known drug dealers.

 

Surrey Comet:

 

Insp Merrett said: “We spoke to her about whether there were any breaches of police security.

“She was advised that we would have to report the situation and told this sort of lifestyle is not compatible with her role.”

Insp Merrett said police did not feel there was any cause for concern regarding her welfare when they left the property, at about 3am.

But housemate Olivia Salt said Ms Robertson’s mood changed after the police intervention, from “drunk and giggly” to “muted”.

Both she and fellow housemate Hannah Lowthian told the court they then heard Ms Robertson shouting, followed by retching and vomiting noises.

Ms Salt said “Nicole was shouting ‘you’ve ruined my life’.

“I thought she was on the phone to someone.”

Ms Robertson did not answer her door despite Ms Salt knocking repeatedly.

Ms Lowthian called police that evening, after Ms Robertson failed to respond to calls, texts and door-knocks from worried friends.

She was found lying on her bed and pronounced dead at the scene.

Toxicology tests found lethal levels of Paracetemol and propranolol in Ms Roberston’s body.

Surrey Comet:

Ms Robertson died after taking an overdose at her home in Victoria Road

Mother Fiona Robertson said she was prescribed propranolol for migraines.

She added: “She was studying criminology at university and she was very serious about it.

“She was very much looking forward to joining the police and she was very proud of joining the police as a volunteer.

“I think [being warned by police] was the most devastating for her.”

Recording a drug-related death, coroner Chinyere Inyama said although he was satisfied Ms Robertson took a deliberate overdose, he could not be sure she intended to kill herself.

He said: “There was a text message which was never sent which could amount to what is commonly known as a suicide note.

"But there are cases where people kill themselves and do not leave a note and others where people leave a note but do not kill themselves.”

He added: “The word tragedy is often used but this is a case where it certainly applies.”

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