DUE to a hospital blunder a coroner was today forced to record an open verdict at the inquest into schizophrenic Chippenham woman Jane Watson.

During the inquest in Trowbridge town hall, Wiltshire's assistand deputy coroner David Ridley, said he had no choice but to record the verdict after the Great Western Hospital in Swindon lost vital toxicological samples.

Mrs Watson, 56, was found dead by her husband Jeremy on October 14 last year, at the couples home in Westminster Gardens.

Mr Watson, a salesman, slammed hospital staff during the hour long inquest. He said: “Surely procedures are in place to ensure this kind of thing does not happen. I find it very hard to believe.”

He also spoke of his wife’s 20 year battle with depression and schizophrenia. He said: “It wasn’t something that we spoke of, just something that came up when she was very ill. When she had her first episode in the 1980’s doctor’s said she would probably never work again but she was a fighter. She always worked.”

On October 14th, Mr Watson had been working in Cardiff all day when he arrived home at round 6pm.

He said “When I got back to the house I walked in and thought it was strange that there were no lights on so I put the kitchen light on and said ‘Hello, I’m back’ but got no response, and that worried me straight away.”

Mr Watson found his wife’s body in the living room, with a jug of water and several empty packets of medication.

In a statement read to the court, Mrs Watson’s mother Iris Mary Carter described her relationship with her daughter as ‘very close’.

She said: “We did the usual things that mothers and daughters do.

“I live very close to where Jane lives, and she visited my house the week before she died for over an hour which was much longer than normal.”

Concluding the inquest Mr Ridley gave a heart felt apology to Mr Watson for not being able to give a definitive verdict.

He said: “No analysis has been undertaken because toxicological samples were lost.

“I have the greatest empathy for the position you are in because the reason for this inquest was to find out how Jane came to her death. I am sorry.”