The Thai woman who died after being kidnapped was a drug addict who died a poor and lonely woman, according to her friend.

Jindarat Prutsiriporn, 50, died from her injuries in hospital last week after escaping from the boot of a moving car in Papatoetoe on March 1.

"She owed people a lot of money, and for a while her family did not want anything to do with her," said the friend of more than 10 years, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

"Her family is in the Thai restaurant business and know she had a big problem with drugs, but they just didn't know how to help her."

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The friend last met Prutsiriporn at SkyCity casino about three years ago.

"At the time, she told me that she had separated from her husband and she didn't look very happy" said the friend.

"I was also shocked to see that she had lost so much weight and had become very skinny, like a different person."

She was not employed, but helped out at her son's restaurant in Kingsland from time to time, he said.

In 2011, she was jailed for two and a half years for her role as part of a syndicate importing precursor drugs from Thailand for manufacturing pseudoephedrine.

Court document showed she did not receive substantial financial benefits from the racket which was a means to support a drug addiction, Fairfax media reported.

She was twice sentenced in 2011 on importing and possession charges and at the first sentencing, in the Auckland District Court, Judge Roy Wade described Prutsiriporn as having "a very limited grasp of English" and requiring an interpreter in court.

According to the judge's sentencing notes, Prutsiriporn's then boyfriend came to New Zealand in 1988 and she followed him here a year later.

The couple stayed together until 2002, the report said.

"You freely acknowledged that, for over 25 years, you have been using drugs, to start with cannabis, but you were introduced to methamphetamine about two years ago [2009]," the judge said.

"It is plain that, although you did supply and offer to supply [drugs], it was not done for profit because you were living extremely modestly and I am satisfied you were simply acting as a conduit or go-between between your drug supplier and other drug users in your own circle."

When police arrested Prutsiriporn she was living in a shed, where utensils for methamphetamine and cannabis use were found, the judge said.

At a second sentencing a month later in Napier, Prutsiriporn was given an 18-month sentence on a single representative charge of conspiring to import class C drugs.

Her earlier two and a half year sentence was not extended after the judge imposed a concurrent sentence.

The friend, who met with Prutsiriporn's family after her death, said they had requested privacy and would not speak with media.