A brother and sister tragically died through not understanding the dangers posed by taking a “combination of drugs”.

Carla Couperthwaite, 26, of Rostherne Gardens, Deane, and her brother Stephen Fisher, 33, of Thornfield Close, were found deceased at Carla’s home, on September 6, 2023.

The inquest heard that on the day before they died, Stephen and Carla and spent some time with Carla’s sister Jade Couperthwaite, at Carla’s flat.

Carla previously worked as a decorator.

Jade said: “Stephen said he had problems with his back teeth, and I thought he had medication.

“Carla had some morphine.

The Bolton News: Carla CouperthwaiteCarla Couperthwaite (Image: Courtney Burtak)

“I only saw Carla take it at least once, otherwise I would have taken it off them.

“I didn’t take any because I knew it wasn’t my medication and had no pain or toothache.

“It was just a normal night on the sofa, and round about 7.30pm I fell asleep.”

The court heard that Carla had a history of depression and anxiety, alcohol misuse, and drug misuse, and had tried to get support for this, but was not given any regular medication in the six months prior to her death, although she had in the past.

Jade told the court that when she woke up the next day on September 6, Carla “didn’t look right” and she called the ambulance and was instructed to perform CPR, but when paramedics arrived, she was “beyond resuscitation”.

She said: “When the ambulance arrived, they confirmed my sister had passed away.

“I didn’t know what was going on, but they weren’t breathing, and it started to feel so real.

“The paramedics found Stephen.”

The Bolton News: Stephen Fisher with his fiancé Zara GreavesStephen Fisher with his fiancé Zara Greaves (Image: Zara Greaves)Detective inspector Anthony Lunt said that Stephen was found in a separate room and says that there were no suspicious circumstances or third-party involvement, and that the act was not “intentional”.

During the inquest, Jade said that Carla had “some difficulties” in the past, but that her mental health was on “top form”, and she was “happy” and had just moved into a new flat.

She said: “She was stable and so happy to move on with her life.”

Stephen also received support for drug and alcohol misuse, and had a “long history” of drug misuse, but he referred himself to Achieve Recovery Services, and "tried his best".

He had also not been prescribed any medication in the six months prior to his death.

The medical cause of death for Stephen and Carla was given as combined drugs toxicity.

After carrying out an external examination for Carla, Dr Sawant said: “There were no life-threatening injuries.

“It is not the individual drugs, it’s the combination of those drugs.

"I obtained blood and urine from the deceased (Carla), and it was sent for a toxicology examination.

"Amounts of cocaine at some point, diazepam, cannabis, and pregabalin were found."

After carrying out a toxicology report for Stephen, Dr Sawant said: "Morphine was found to be particularly high, and cocaine, pregabalin, diazepam, and amphetamine at a low concentration was found.

"The effect of cocaine would have been exacerbated by the amphetamine.

"It's the combination of the morphine that exaggerated the effects." 

Reaching a conclusion of a drugs related death for Stephen and Carla, assistant coroner Stephen Teasdale said: “It was a miscalculation rather than a deliberate act.

“They miscalculated the effects of the combination of drugs.

“We know in the hours proceeding Carla’s death she had taken morphine and was a naive user, and she did not appreciate the effects of that drug with the other drugs she had taken.

Stephen had taken morphine, and other drugs, and he was a naïve user (not a regular user)

“It’s the combination of drugs, and he did not appreciate the effects.”

Speaking after the inquest, Stephen’s sister-in-law Rukshana Javed said: “Stephen was a man with a heart of gold, and he would do anything for anyone, and sadly he was caught in a world of drugs.

“He was one in a million.

“He was a really good man.”

Zara Greaves, Stephen’s fiancé said: “He was the best dad and best partner and tried his best.”

Another family member said: “I have got five sons, and he was like my son.

“He took care of all of us.

“Anything we needed Stephen would always be there.”

If you have a story and something you would like to highlight in the community, please email me at jasmine.jackson@newsquest.co.uk or DM me on Twitter @JournoJasmine.