A WOMAN who became increasingly reclusive over the past two years was found dead surrounded by drug paraphernalia, an inquest heard.

Tereza Rutter, from Paradise Lane, in Bishop's Waltham, was found slumped on her sofa at her home by police on March 22, 2021.

The postman had raised concerns with her neighbour when parcels were left undelivered.

Neighbour Patricia Morgan then called gardener Edward Smith, who had worked for Ms Rutter for five years, when she could not get a response at her door. Mr Smith then called police, who found her dead in her living room surrounded by drug paraphernalia.

In a statement to the court, Mr Smith said that Ms Rutter was a reclusive person.

He said: "Her emotions would go up and down and she chose to live in solitude."

Mrs Morgan said that Ms Rutter was a 'lonely person' and that she was not aware of any drug use, except that she was on some medication and was visibly unhealthy.

An inquest into Ms Rutter's death was held at Winchester Coroner's Court on June 13. No family or friends were present at the inquest.

Senior coroner Jason Pegg heard statements from Ms Rutter's mother Susan Hoyland, who described her daughter's mental health struggles and addictions to alcohol and drugs.

Mrs Hoyland, who lives in Spain, said: "From the time that Tereza was an early teenager, she struggled with depression. It was not apparent at the time, I thought that she was naughty or being disruptive."

Following Mrs Hoyland's marriage break up, Ms Rutter turned to alcohol.

She said: "Drinking and smoking then started, and that became more apparent aged 16. Then when she was aged about 16 or 17 we went on holiday to Florida, where she was introduced to cocaine. It was 10 years until we found out and that eventually progressed towards heroin."

The court heard that her mother had bought her a home in Bishop's Waltham, which Ms Rutter "absolutely loved".

However Ms Rutter lost her job. She had hoped that Ms Rutter would move to Spain and start a new life with her in 2015, but Ms Rutter was hospitalised and she was put on medication for depression.

This medication caused her to put on weight, and that in turn made her withdraw more.

Mrs Hoyland said: "We continued to support her financially but she withdrew from us emotionally."

Mr Pegg heard that a post mortem found Ms Rutter to have heroin and duloxetine in her system, as well as cocaine and cannabis. He recorded an open verdict.

He ruled that Ms Rutter died having injected and consumed substantial quantities of heroin and duloxetine, which caused her to suffer respiratory depression.

He said: "Tereza was someone who had in the past used heroin and she knew how to use it. Whether it was an accident or whether she chose to take a large quantity to end her life, there is not enough evidence before me to say for certain.

"My sincere condolences to the family for the loss of their daughter."

READ MORE: What happens at an inquest and what can the press report?

If you would like any help with bereavement, loss or mental wellbeing, here are some helpline numbers

You can call the Samaritans on 116 123

Child Bereavement UK 0800 028 8840 childbereavementuk.org

Cruse Bereavement Care 0808 808 1677 cruse.org.uk 

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS) 0300 111 5065 uksobs.org

  • For help or support with bereavement in Winchester and the surrounding areas, go to winchesterbereavementsupport.org.uk