AN ALCOHOLIC couple's desperate bid to conquer their drink problem ended in tragedy when the wife accidentally overdosed on her anti-depressant medicine to help reduce her withdrawal symptoms, an inquest was told.

Heavy vodka drinkers Jonathan and Belinda Kelly, of Rowley, Cam, had decided to spend a whole day in bed without drink on August 7 last year in an attempt to dry out.

As the day went by Mrs Kelly, 44, was suffering so badly with sickness and shaking that she called the doctor, who prescribed medication to control her symptoms.

But when her mother went to fetch the prescription the local chemist had run out and Mrs Kelly had to manage without, the Gloucester inquest was told.

Later, said her husband in a statement, he heard her give a 'shallow gasp' and he realised 'she was struggling for her life.'

He called 999 for an ambulance and attempted resuscitation himself until a paramedic arrived but Mrs Kelly could not be saved and was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

Gloucestershire coroner Alan Crickmore said: "Mr and Mrs Kelly were together going through a terrible time in trying to withdraw from alcohol.

"The medication the GP prescribed was not instantly available. I think the most likely explanation is that Mrs Kelly then started to take her Citalopram tablets in the expectation that they would help her and calm her through this torrid time.

"She has therefore died from the unintended consequences of taking them to try to control her withdrawal symptoms."

In a statement to the inquest Mr Kelly said he and his wife had been together for 27 years and married for ten. They had no children.

They had always enjoyed a drink but in the last five to six years alcohol had become a real problem for both of them, he said, and they were drinking on average one and a half litres of vodka a day.

His wife had developed stomach problems as a result of the drinking and had to use a Zimmer frame to walk.

Mr Kelly said she had been prescribed Citalopram about three years previously to treat stress and depression.

The coroner said there was no evidence that she deliberately took an overdose to bring an end to her life and recorded a verdict of accidental death.