Newquay girl death circumstances 'will never be known'

The exact circumstances of how a girl died in Newquay will never be known because the people she was with did not attend her inquest, a coroner has said.

Lorna May, 17, died on 25 March 2009 while sleeping at a friend's house.

She choked on her own vomit after taking drugs and alcohol, the inquest in Truro heard.

The coroner, Dr Peter Blackwell-Smith, told her family the people she was with had a chaotic lifestyle. He recorded an open verdict.

'Patchy' approaches

Ms May was living rough in Newquay at the time of her death.

She had been known to social services since she was a four-year-old but had been taken off the child protection register when she was 14.

The inquest was told there was confusion among social workers and other agencies about their responsibilities for helping children over the age of 16.

The approach of housing officials to homeless young people at the time was "inconsistent and patchy" and children's social care could have been more robust, Cornwall Council told the hearing.

The coroner said he was satisfied matters had been addressed and new systems were in place.

In his summary of the evidence, the coroner said on the day Ms May died she had been with friends drinking all day at a property in Newquay.

He said empty medicine bottles and ampoules [medical capsules] were found at the scene.

Dr Blackwell-Smith said it would never been known exactly what happened because the people she was with on the day she died lived a chaotic lifestyle involving drink and drugs and had failed to attend the inquest.

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