Tragic final moments of 'gullible woman with heart of gold who was abused by those she trusted'

Nikita Stansfield died in October last year
-Credit: (Image: GoFundMe)

A Halifax woman with a "heart of gold" but who was "abused by those she trusted" died after taking a toxic overdose.

Bradford Coroner's Court heard during an inquest on Friday that Nikita Shyla Stansfield, 30, was found dead in her bed at her flat in Portland Place by her boyfriend Liam on October 30, last year. A post-mortem report found she had taken toxic and fatal amounts of both methadone and pregabalin.

Assistant Coroner Angela Brocklehurst told the court Nikita had been working with drug and alcohol services for a time to rid herself of her addiction. She said she was diagnosed with heroin dependence in 2012.

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Ms Brocklehurst said Nikita was given support throughout 2018, 2019 and 2020 and had attended group sessions. She had also been prescribed methadone to treat her addiction to heroin and crack cocaine.

The court heard that at the time of her death, Nikita had been using pregabalin to help with dental pain, and had been warned by support workers of the risks of mixing the drug with methadone.

Ms Brocklehurst said: "Nikita was an older sibling to Kirsty, who provided a statement to the inquest. She was one of nine siblings.

"Nikita was her father's favourite child and was a tiny, fragile, blonde baby girl who played in the garden. As a teenager she made friends and enjoyed doing her dressing up, meeting friends. She was always good with children and had a heart of gold."

The court heard Nikita was in care when she was 14 and a year later, reported she had taken a deliberate overdose of paracetamol. She was later diagnosed with a mixed anxiety and depressive disorder.

Ms Brocklehurst said: "In February 2021, she agreed to take methadone as part of a programme. Despite reaching a period of abstinence in December 2022 she relapsed into smoking heroin again and using crack cocaine. She began to get help from an assistance project.

"In 2022 she was offered her own flat and had a period of abstinence but in later months as well as using methadone, was also using heroin."

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The court heard there were later plans in progress to limit Nikita's use of methadone, but she was using that and pregabalin at the time of her death.

Police Constable Vincent provided an account from October 30 when he received a call to attend at the address. He said he took an account from Nikita's boyfriend Liam Innis who said he had found her the next day.

PC Vincent said: "He said they had been in a relationship for the previous three years and when describing that relationship he said they were both in love with each other and had never broken up in that period.

"He said that day he had woken up around 1pm and thought it was strange he couldn't hear her snoring and said she always makes a noise. He stated that he tried to shake her and wake her up and shout her name but he couldn't wake her up and said she was cold to the touch. He tried to check her pulse and couldn't find one."

PC Vincent said Liam had told him that he had gone downstairs to his cousin's home and she also went to Nikita to try and find a pulse but could not. It was then the ambulance was called.

A post-mortem examination was carried out by Dr Richard Knight and toxicological report and "drug screen" identified "the use of methadone within the range encountered in fatalities, together with the use of pregabalin also in the fatal range." Dr Knight added: "Mirtazapine and diazepam had also been used in life."

He gave the medical cause of death as 1A methadone and pregabalin toxicity.

Ms Brocklehurst said: "I accept the medical cause of death as provided in the post mortem report and note. Kirsty - Nikita's sister - says she was very gullible and would believe and trust everyone. I find this to be the case in her life and it was this gullibility and trusting of strangers that led her to choose a chaotic lifestyle while she was abused by those she trusted.

"My conclusion is that the death of Nikita Shyla Stansfield was a drug related death."

The coroner passed her condolences and sympathies onto Nikita's family.