A hopeful children’s author lay dead for five months with a publisher’s acceptance of her first novel among the post on the doormat, an inquest was told.Helen Gradwell, 39, who suffered intense migraines may have accidentally overdosed on painkillers as she dozed on her sofa, the hearing was told. Now her family want to find the first draft of the novel she was secretly working on – so they can publish it and donate the proceeds to animal charities.
Helen was found at home in Heaton, near Bolton, Greater Manchester, last April 26 – but died months earlier. Christmas decorations were still up, her body was decomposed and she last texted a friend on December 30. DI Jonathan Kelly told Coroner Timothy Brennand that her two beloved pet dogs died in the same room.
Helen’s teaching career was cut short by debilitating hemiplegic migraines, which resulted in severe pain and paralysis. Instead she took up tutoring and writing books. Pathologist Jonathan Pearson found high levels of prescribed painkiller Tramadol in her body.
Bolton Coroners Court heard among post piled up was a letter from a publisher accepting The Nature’s Spirits. Recording an open conclusion, Mr Brennand said there was no evidence she had intended to take her life.