The sudden death of British socialite Peaches Geldof received further closure Wednesday when coroner Roger Hatch revealed that she died after injecting herself with a fatal amount of high-purity heroin.
Geldof's body was discovered by her husband, punk band S.C.U.M. frontman Thomas Cohen, on April 7 in their Kent home. She was 25 years old.
Geldof had struggled with heroin addiction for years, and was secretly attending rehab in recent months. She was also taking methadone – an opiod used as a substitute for heroin.
The coroner said that the heroin in her system had a purity of 61 percent, much higher than most heroin found on the street. Initially, police said they found no evidence of drugs in the home, but at an inquest it was revealed that nearly seven grams of heroin were found, along with burnt spoons, knotted ties, and syringes.
Forensic scientist Dr. Emma Harris wrote in her report that it appears Geldof died shortly after injecting the drug. She also said that it is common for relapsed drug users to overdose because their tolerance is lower than when they were using more heavily.
"Persons taking heroin on a regular basis develop a tolerance to the drug, and such individuals can use doses that would be toxic, or fatal, to people with no tolerance," Dr. Harris wrote.
"However, tolerance to heroin and other opiate drugs appears to be lost fairly rapidly when users cease to use the drug, and deaths commonly occur in people who have previously been tolerant and have returned to using heroin."
Geldof's mother, Paula Yates, died of a heroin overdose when Geldof was 11 years old. Hatch discussed the comparison during the hearing.
"It's said that the death of Peaches Geldof-Cohen is history repeating itself but this is not entirely so," he said.
"By November last year she had ceased to take heroin as a result of the considerable treatment and counselling that she had received. This was a significant achievement for her but, for reasons we will never know, prior to her death she returned to taking heroin, with the fatal consequences that we have heard here today.
"I therefore find that the death of Peaches Geldof was drug-related and I express my sympathy to her family."