Doncaster beautician who lived 'chaotic lifestyle' found dead after drink and drugs binge

A Doncaster beautician who lived a ‘chaotic lifestyle’ was found dead at her home after a drink and drugs binge, an inquest has heard.

Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 4:14 pm

Claire Anderson, 35, was found dead on the floor of her flat in Thorne Road last summer.

Her death sparked a major police investigation after her body was found covered in bruises, with the man she was in a casual relationship with arrested following the tragic discovery on July 11 last year.

Doncaster Coroners’ Court heard that Ms Anderson had high levels of liquid ecstasy drug GHB in her bloodstream, along with traces of cocaine.

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Claire Louise Anderson's death sparked a major police murder investigation.
Claire Louise Anderson's death sparked a major police murder investigation.

The court also heard how Claire, a recovering alcoholic who had relapsed, had been drinking up to three bottles of wine a day.

The hearing was also told how she had been declared bankrupt after the collapse of her beauty business, had been arrested, charged and banned for drink driving and also accused of assaulting police.

Her brother Paul described his sister living a ‘chaotic lifestyle’ which included a number of hospitalisations for drug related incidents as well as a number of car accidents while under the influence which had written off her cars.

She had also had a number of troubled relationships including domestic abuse in the past.

The court heard that Ms Anderson had recently started a casual, sexual relationship with a man called Dean Rigg she had met while travelling in Australia some years previously.

The pair had been reunited early last year and regularly held drink and drugs parties, Mr Rigg describing how they would party ‘for four days out of 10’

Mr Rigg was arrested by police after Claire’s body was discovered covered in dozens of cuts and bruises, with a kettle bell close to her body and a black eye on her face.

But after a forensic post mortem revealed that the bruises were likely to have been sustained by herself while under the influence of drink or drugs, the enquiry was dropped and he was released without charge.

Mr Anderson said he was ‘very close’ to his sister but said she lived a ‘chaotic lifestyle’ adding: “I knew she was taking drugs. GBL and crack. In the last six to eight weeks, she had been spending more money on drugs and alcohol.”

He revealed that his relationship with his sister had become strained in the weeks leading up to her death after stealing her bank card and using it to withdraw £180 which he used to spend on drugs.

The court heard that Claire had last been seen alive on July 9, which is thought to be the day she died.

However, her body was not discovered until a few days later when Mr Rigg, who had been away in London for a few days, found her unresponsive on the floor. The alarm was raised after family and friends grew concerend at not being able to contact her.

In written evidence, mum Joan Anderson described her daughter as a ‘happy and confident child’ but that an incident while on holiday in Tenerife at the age of 13, which was not explained in detail in court, led her to becoming ‘volatile.’

But she had spent £15,000 training to become a beautician and had set up her own business as well as travelling the world with friends.

However, early last year, her business collapsed and she was declared bankrupt. Her house was also repossessed due to mortgage arrears, leading to her to move to the flat in Thorne Road.

The hearing was also told how she had been prescribed a number of anti-depressants medications for depression and anxiety over the years and had attended alcohol addiction counselling after downing up to three bottles of wine a day. She also had a history of self-harm, the court heard.

Friend Rachel Furr, who last saw Claire on July 7 said: “I went to her house. The flat was in a mess and she was in a bad way.

"She suffered from depression, was drinking and was addicted to GBL and had been using it for years. She looked dishevelled and was covered in bruises.”

After discovering Claire’s body, paramedics and police were called and an investigation was launched.

Another friend, Lisa Sables said: “I knew she took GBL but she knew what her limit was. She liked to have a a drink, but she was happy with no problems. She was just p***** off that she had no money.”

Lisa arrived at the flat soon after her friend’s body was discovered and added: “I just screamed. I was in a panic. I knew she was dead. She felt like an ice block.”

Sgt Andrew Eshelby of Doncaster Police, who was among the first officers at the scene said: "Rigg was clearly upset. He was crying. He said he had found her on the flat floor and had been trying to get her off drugs. He was crying constantly.”

DC Alex Britland said police set up a major crime investigation because of the number of bruises on Claire’s body, with CSI officers brought in to comb the flat and also check phone records in the days leading up to Claire’s death.

She said Rigg had been arrested and during interview, he revealed how Claire ‘took drugs and liked to party,” with the pair regularly spending £100 a night on alcohol on drugs and ‘partying four nights out of 10.’

Toxicologist Rochelle Savage said ‘very high’ levels of GHB had been found in Claire’s blood along with cocaine, anti-depressants and alcohol, although she said the drink levels would not have contributed to the death.

Doncaster assistant coroner Matt Stanbury said: “Claire was much loved and supported in her life by her family. She had a passion for life.

"However, she also had problematic issues and longstanding difficulties with alcohol and drug misuse and depression.

"At the time of her death, she had been referred to a detox programme which had worked in the past, but unfortunately that hadn’t progressed at the time of her death.

"She had struck up a relationship with a man and they consumed drink and drugs together. She also had people at her flat with unfavourable reputations."

He recorded a verdict that Claire had died due to excess levels of GBH and cocaine.