South African immigrant who drank while heavily pregnant died of alcohol poisioning in Mitcham
11:00am Monday 4th February 2013
An alcoholic mother-of-two, who refused to stop binge drinking even when she was heavily pregnant, drank herself to death, an inquest heard.
Marylene Tisumele, a South African immigrant who was due to be deported, died of alcohol poisoning in a bedsit in Streatham Road, Mitcham.
She was found at about 8am on Monday, August 8, by her 17-year-old daughter, who had been partying with friends in Brixton that weekend.
Ian Fowkes-Smith, a parademic, said: “The daughter was kneeling down beside her. The daughter became aware of the London Ambulance Service and shouted for help. She appeared very upset and was crying.”
A post-mortem examination would later find an extremely high concentration of alcohol in her blood - 492 miligrams per 100 millilitres – more than six times over the drink-driving limit.
Miss Tisumele, an unemployed divorcee, moved to the UK eight years ago. She was diagnosed as having an alcohol addiction and was being helped by Croydon social services.
A report read out at Westminster Coroner’s Court by a Croydon GP, Dr Vishal Shah, detailed a five-year history of alcohol addiction, depression, and even threats to kill herself and her baby after she fell pregnant in 2008.
On Thursday, January 31, the court heard Miss Tisimule would “drink two bottles a day on a daily basis” and how an emergency caesarean section had to be performed after she was found drunk during her third trimester of pregnancy.
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends pregnant women in their third trimester may drink a maximum of one or two units of alcohol, the equivalent of a half pint of lager or a small glass of wine.
The court also heard how on December 27, 2011, she was brought by ambulance to Croydon University Hospital, where she expressed threats to kill herself and her child.
It was explained, in a report by toxicologist Dr Sarah Thompson, that Miss Tisumule had failed to find work and no longer had permanent leave to remain in the UK.
Merton police had initially suspected foul play after a man had been found with Miss Tisumele’s mobile phone and, after being arrested, refused to answer questions at Wimbledon police station.
But, after detectives found no evidence to suggest Miss Tisumele had been murdered, the man was released without charge.
Detective Sergeant Trevor Struthers told the court: “It appears that he became friends with her recently. We know he was at the address on the Saturday. He was the last person seen at the address. This was confirmed by her daughter.
He added: “We concluded that it was alcohol or paracemetol abuse. That was because of the statements of witnesses and her history – she was arrested for being drunk in front of a child previously.”
Recording a verdict of death by natural causes, the coroner, Jean Harkin, said: “Very sadly Marylene Tisumele had a long history alcohol abuse and depression and threats of self harm.
“She had various factors going on in her life that would have affected her mental state at certain times.
She added: “Levels of alcohol found in her blood and urine samples was extremely high.
"She had a history of alcoholism and my conclusion is that she died from acute alcohol intoxication.”