A 60-year-old Whanganui cancer patient who died of a drug overdose, was found cuddling her dead dog.

Enez Lenore Crawford, who was battling breast cancer, died in her Whanganui flat where she lived alone on October 16 last year, the newly-released coroner's report said.

The report said Crawford's death was caused by drug toxicity; zopiclone, amitriptyline and methadone.

"Her death was by way of an accidental [although deliberately taken] overdose. It was not a suicide," coroner Tim Scott said.


Earlier in the day Crawford had rung her daughter upset to say her dog, who was her companion, had died.

Her daughter, Aisha Beazley, told her mother that she would be round later that day to assist her.

When Beazley arrived at the flat Crawford was lying face down on the floor with her arms around the dog.

In the coroner's report Beazley said she didn't think this was particularly unusual because it was quite usual for her mother to go to sleep after taking methadone, which she took to treat her cancer.

"Aisha said that her mother picked up methadone three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays — so it made sense that she may have taken methadone that day."

"Aisha returned to the house at about 7pm and her mother was still in the same position.

"Aisha felt her mother's back and found it was warm. Because of this she thought her mother was still sleeping and left the flat.

"At about 10:30pm Aisha and her partner returned once again. This time Aisha touched her mother's hand which was cold. Her partner felt for a pulse but could not find one. They telephoned for an ambulance," the coroner's report said.

The report said a post-mortem examination was undertaken at Palmerston North by Dr Toni O'Regan and it concluded that the blood toxicology that caused Crawford's death was multi drug toxicity; zopiclone, amitriptyline and methadone.