A mother allegedly murdered by her boyfriend died from an overdose of a cocktail of drugs, including pills a court heard he had ordered off the black market.
Jordan Monaghan, 30, who is also accused of smothering his two children, is said to have bought the potent prescription drugs tramadol and diazepam himself.
A jury was told how his partner Evie Adams had been taking numerous over-the-counter and prescribed medication in the days leading to her death.
Today a toxicologist report showed the level pain-relief drug Tramadol – normally used by MS sufferers – in the 23-year-old’s blood was five times the normal prescribed dosage.
Professor Alexander Forrest – an expert in forensic chemistry and toxicology – told the hearing that amount ‘would make the toxicologist’s eyebrows rise up.’
He added: ‘It is potentially a toxic dose which has been reported to be sufficient in itself to cause death.’
Monaghan denied the murders of his children Ruby and Logan (left) in 2013 and the murder of his new partner Evie Adams (right) in 2019 and the trial continues at Preston Crown Court
Jordan Monaghan is accused of smothering his daughter Ruby and his son Logan
Prof Forrest said Miss Adams had ingested more than therapeutic amounts – one prescribed by a doctor – hours before her death and considered it ‘an overdose.’
He admitted it was known that individuals had also died from taking both higher and lower quantities.
A jury – sitting at Preston Crown Court, Lancs – heard that Diazepam – an anti-anxiety drug – and its breakdown product nordiazepam were also found in Miss Adams’ blood.
Prof Forrest said the levels of nordiazepam detected was ‘the sort of figure you get if you are taking diazepam on a regular basis’ and the ‘drug being taken over a period of time.
‘She had been taking diazepam on a regular basis for some days rather than a single dose of diazepam.
Miss Adams died on October 24, 2019, after complaining of sickness and stomach pains for a week.
Jordan Monaghan, 30, denies three counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder and two counts of cruelty to a child and is standing trial at Preston Crown Court (pictured)
Prof Forrest said that nerve pain relief drug pregabalin – used to treat epilepsy and anxiety – also contributed to her death.
Mr Duncan Smith, QC, prosecuting, asked Prof Forrest what the effects of taking a mixture of drugs have had.
Prof Forrest said: ‘Overall, there is likely to be a substantial depression of her level of consciousness. She would be rendered semi-conscious or unconscious and also show depression in the mechanism in her brain which enables her to continue to breathe.
‘There is a combination of a depressed level of consciousness and a depression in her ability to breathe adequately.
‘That in turn can lead to cardiac failure resulting in the accumulation of fluid in the lungs.’
He added that studies had shown that taking pregabalin with tramadol increased the risk of a person dying by ’60 per cent upwards.’
He said: ‘So it’s becoming increasingly common to find people who have died with a substantial concentration of an opiate type-drug, as I say in this context tramadol, and pregabalin in the blood.
‘I think she has taken an excessive amount, an overdose if you like, or perhaps I should say ingested an excessive amount of tramadol and pregabalin within hours of death.
‘Excessive amounts far greater than a medical practitioner would be prescribed for therapeutic use of the drug.’
Digger driver Monaghan, of Blackburn, denies murdering Miss Adams with an overdose of tramadol and diazepam.
He is also charged with murdering his three-week-old daughter, Ruby, and 21-month-old son Logan. Ruby died at home on New Year’s Day in 2013, and her brother Logan died eight months later on August 17.
He faces a further two counts of attempted murder of a third child, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
He denies the charges.
The trial continues.