A YOUNG mum died after taking her brother's prescription morphine to combat a sore throat, an inquest heard.

Mother-of-two Emily Hicks, 28, had spent the evening of April 27 last year at home in Herbert Avenue, Poole, drinking cans of Stella with her brother Sam.

The pair got through the best part of 30 cans in total, the inquest at Bournemouth Coroner's Court heard.

Late in the evening, Miss Hicks took a large quantity of her brother's prescription morphine and codeine, ostensibly to deal with the pain from a chest infection and sore throat, for which she was already taking antibiotics, codeine and paracetamol.

A pathologist told the court the lethal cocktail of alcohol and opiate painkillers shut down her breathing and cut off the supply of blood to her brain, causing fatal injuries.

She died in Poole Hospital on April 29.

Pathologist Dr Basil Purdue said: "The results show Emily took a significant amount of opiate morphine shortly before she died.

"It was well within the range death is expected even in those with a tolerance, and everything in the circumstances implies Emily had never taken it before.

"The combination of morphine with alcohol is known to be particularly dangerous."

Coroner Rachel Griffin recorded a verdict of death by misadventure.

She praised Miss Hicks for being an organ donor, noting that four people's lives had been transformed through donations as a result of her death.

"If any good can come of her death, it is very important we learn the lesson of how dangerous it is taking someone else's prescription medication, and mixing prescription medication with alcohol," she said.

Although Miss Hicks was taking antidepressants at the time of her death, the court heard there was no evidence she had taken her own life, and she had frequently told doctors she would never do so for the sake of her two daughters.

Her mother Caroline told the court Miss Hicks had been in good spirits on the day of her death, and she was looking forward to starting an apprenticeship as an electrician.

Her brother Mr Hicks had been prescribed the medication after being struck by a car while crossing a road, sustaining serious injuries.

He did not attend the inquest. Detective Sergeant Gary Knight of Dorset Police said Mr Hicks had been interviewed under caution and said his sister had asked if she could use some of his medication, and he had told her to "help herself".

He was not prosecuted for any offence.