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High Hopes singer was killed by accidental overdose

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Linda Ayers died aged 44. Picture: Collins

Linda Ayers died aged 44. Picture: Collins

Linda Ayers died aged 44. Picture: Collins

A homeless woman who turned her life around and sang in the High Hopes Choir died from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs, an inquest has heard.

Linda Ayers (44) joined the choir of formerly homeless people after securing a home through Focus Ireland.

She had been doing voluntary work as well as a gardening course and was planning to seek a job, the inquest at Dublin Coroner's Court heard.

Ms Ayers was seen chatting to a neighbour at her assisted living accommodation in George's Hill, Dublin 7, at about 10.30am on the day of her sudden death on January 2, 2017.

Josephine Murphy, a member of staff, said Ms Ayers looked fine that morning. "She looked OK, she was outside smoking and talking to another lady," Ms Murphy said.

She added that when she saw Ms Ayers collapse not long after, she ran for help and an ambulance was called.

She was pronounced dead at 11.44am.

Breakdown

Investigating Garda Brian Kenny said while Ms Ayers's movements earlier that morning were unknown, her death was not considered suspicious.

Three weeks before her death, Ms Ayers gave an interview about becoming homeless due to a family breakdown, and the "horrendous" experience of sleeping on the streets.

She said her "life changed" when she was persuaded to join the High Hopes Choir and she performed on stage in Christchurch Cathedral with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.

A toxicology screening as part of an autopsy carried out by pathologist Sarah Mahon found a number of substances in her system.

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The cause of death was given as cardio-respiratory arrest due to the combined effect of a number of different drugs.

Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane returned a verdict of misadventure.


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