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October 31, 2014

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Coroner: Peaches Geldof died of heroin overdose

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Matt Sayles / AP

In this Thursday, May 21, 2009, file photo, British socialite Peaches Geldof arrives for the amfAR Cinema Against AIDS benefit at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc during the 62nd Cannes International Film Festival, in Antibes, France.

LONDON — Model and TV personality Peaches Geldof died from a heroin overdose after relapsing from a battle to give up the drug, a British coroner ruled Wednesday.

Coroner Roger Hatch said 25-year-old Geldof took a fatal dose of high-purity heroin shortly before she was found dead at her home south of London on April 7.

An inquest heard that Geldof — daughter of Live Aid organizer Bob Geldof — was a heroin addict and had been taking the drug substitute methadone for more than two years in a bid to stay free of the opiate.

Her husband, Thomas Cohen, told the hearing that Geldof had started using heroin again in February. He said he had seen her flushing drugs she had hidden in the loft of their home down the toilet.

Cohen found her body when he returned from a weekend away with the couple's 2-year-old son, Astala. Their younger son, 1-year-old Phaedra, was in the house with his mother.

Police found heroin and syringes in the house. A forensic scientist said the drug had a purity of 61 percent — much higher than the average drug sold on the street.

A pathologist told the inquest that Geldof's blood contained a high level of heroin, along with traces of codeine, methadone and morphine. There were puncture marks on her arms and legs.

Inquests are held in Britain to determine the facts in sudden, violent or unexplained deaths. The coroner's conclusion is a sad echo of the life of Geldof's mother, Paula Yates, who died of a heroin overdose when Peaches was 11.

"It's said that the death of Peaches Geldof-Cohen is history repeating itself, but this not entirely so," the coroner said.

"By November last year she had ceased to take heroin as a result of the considerable treatment and counseling that she had received.

"This was a significant achievement for her, but for reasons we will never know prior to her death she returned to taking heroin."

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