A POPULAR former teaching assistant died after becoming addicted to alcohol, an inquest heard.

Madeline Mary Horton, formerly a classroom assistant at Eccleston Primary School, Chester, was found dead at her home on Clywedog Close, Summerhill, Wrexham, on October 12 last year.

An inquest into her death at Mold heard Mrs Horton, 44, was originally from Yorkshire but had moved to the area shortly after her marriage in 1994.

She went on to spend a happy two years working at Eccleston where she established a particularly good reputation for supporting children with special needs.

Unfortunately the marriage broke down and Mrs Horton moved to the Wrexham area with concerns growing about the amount she was drinking.

During the inquest, one of Mrs Horton’s two brothers, Paul Sutcliffe, said he believed his sister had begun drinking regularly while at college and she had continued doing so after she was married.

Mr Sutcliffe, who moved to Shropshire to be closer to his sister, said he thought the problem was becoming an addiction but she was attempting to overcome it in later years.

“She was trying very hard,” he said. “It was very difficult for her because she was living on her own.”

He told the inquest there had been a period in 2008 when his sister did not drink for three months and described it as “like seeing my sister when she was 16 again”.

But the drinking resumed and appeared to be impacting on her health, with Mrs Horton said to have developed a frail appearance and suffering several falls.

On the morning of October 12, emergency services were called to Mrs Horton’s home where she had been reported to be lying still on her sofa.

She was pronounced dead at her home at 9.55am, although North East Wales acting coroner John Gittins said the death may have occured some time earlier.

Mr Gittins said post-mortem examination reports confirmed alcohol abuse had been a factor in her death, including signs of alcohol liver disease.

He added that Mrs Horton appeared to have stopped drinking in the final days of her life, probably because she was too ill to continue.

Mr Sutcliffe was asked by Mr Gittins if the family had anticipated what could happen to Mrs Horton during her struggle with alcohol.

He replied: “I guess it was always in our mind’s eye."

“I think we all thought we had longer with Madeline.”

Recording a verdict of death from abuse of alcohol, Mr Gittins said there was no evidence that Mrs Horton had been through significant trauma or suffering when she died and he hoped this would be of some comfort to the family.

Speaking after the inquest, Mr Sutcliffe said: “My sister was a very kind and generous woman.

“She is very sadly missed by all her family.

“Madeline very much enjoyed working as a teaching assistant at Eccleston, where she was loved by the children.”