Northampton woman died in fall after using drug, khat

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A coroner has recorded a verdict of accidental death on a Northampton woman who may have jumped from a window after chewing the herbal stimulant, khat.

The inquest heard the body of Halima Hassan, 31, was found in the grounds of flats in Northampton in May 2009.

She had been chewing khat, an amphetamine-like stimulant popular in east Africa, shortly before her death.

Northamptonshire coroner Anne Pember said: "I don't think there was any intention on her part to end her life."

Her husband found her outside their friend's flat after she disappeared from the room.

The court heard Mrs Hassan died of multiple injuries consistent with a fall and there was no suggestion another person had been involved.

'Psychotic symptoms'

A report from pathologist Dr Elizabeth Turk said a possible explanation for a jump from a window may have been khat.

Khat can cause excitement, euphoria and hyperactivity, the inquest heard.

On rare occasions it can also cause psychotic symptoms including paranoid delusions.

Dr Turk said khat toxicity had neither directly caused nor directly contributed to the cause of death but added: "Psychotic symptoms or hallucinations could be a possible explanation for a jump out of a window."

The court heard Mrs Hassan, of Dover Court, suffered mental health problems.

Mrs Hassan's husband, Asad Mohamed, told the inquest his wife chewed two bundles of khat two to four times a week.

She had been chewing khat with a friend at a flat at St Katherine's Court on 31 May, and when Mr Mohamed returned from the bathroom he could not find her and discovered her body outside.

Mrs Pember said: "We heard that she had been chewing khat and I think that this may have affected how she came to be found on the ground outside St Katherine's Court."

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