A Bradford mother-of-three, who collapsed in a police cell, died from acute alcohol withdrawal syndrome, an inquest heard yesterday.

A medical expert told the Bradford inquest jury it was possible Sharon Batey, 41, was inadequately treated and that increased doses of drugs could have prevented her death.

The inquest heard that Mrs Batey had been arrested at her home, in Browning Street, Barkerend, on the afternoon of July 7, 2008, for being drunk in charge of a child.

She was taken to Trafalgar House police station, in a very intoxicated state, and placed in a cell.

The inquest heard Mrs Batey was seen by a doctor, and she said she was an alcoholic and asthmatic. She believed she was miscarrying and was taken to Bradford Royal Infirmary, where she was found not to be pregnant, and returned to the police station.

She was seen by a doctor at 10am the next day and placed in a cell prior to being interviewed. But just after 11am she was found collapsed on the floor of her cell. She was taken back to hospital but declared dead shortly after noon.

The inquest heard that pathologist Professor Christopher Milroy gave the cause of death as acute alcoholic withdrawal syndrome.

Mrs Batey, who drank a bottle of vodka a day, was seen on CCTV gently banging her head against her cell wall, a sign of agitation which could suggest alcohol withdrawal.

Home Office forensic pathologist Professor Peter Vanezis told the inquest it was unusual for alcoholics to die in such circumstances, but alcohol withdrawal syndrome was a well-recognised risk where people had not taken alcohol for a number of hours and he had seen at least three similar deaths in the past two years.

Forensic physician Dr Jason Payne-James, who was asked to prepare a report on the management of Mrs Batey’s case, said it was possible she was inadequately treated, but there were a number of areas of uncertainty and it was a possibility rather than a probability.

Mrs Batey had been given valium, a recommended treatment for alcohol withdrawal syndrome, while at the police station.

Dr Payne-James said the custody record indicated a risk assessment was undertaken. Mrs Batey saw health care professionals on four occasions and was referred to hospital.

He accepted the overall care of Mrs Batey by West Yorkshire Police was of a good standard.

The inquest heard that days before her death Mrs Batey had agreed to undergo a detoxification process.

The inquest continues.