A woman who was found dead in a Napier ditch in October last year had been drunk for the week leading up to her death, a Hawke's Bay coroner has found.

The body of 47-year-old Gillian Reynolds was found in a roadside drain near Napier and police initially treated her death as suspicious.

A day after her death, police ruled it was not suspicious but a post-mortem examination was unable to determine a cause of death.

Ms Reynolds' mud-smeared body was discovered, lying on her back, by a man cycling to work at a nearby service station on the morning of October 19.


She had last been seen walking her dog about 7pm on October 18.

In his report, released today, Coroner Christopher Devonport said Ms Reynolds had been drunk for the week leading up to her death and her 18-year-old daughter was unable to recall when she last saw her mother sober.

A blood alcohol test after her death showed she had 400 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. The legal driving limit is 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood.

Mr Devonport ruled Ms Reynolds fell into a drain culvert which contained mud and water.
She was not able to remove herself from the drain and died from a combination of alcohol toxicity and hypothermia.