A WOMAN from Caldicot was found dead underneath her bed a day after she had been reported missing to police, an inquest has heard.

Police officers searched Jennifer Davidson's family home in Newport Road on the evening of January 25, after being contacted by concerned family members who had not seen her for at least 24 hours.

Officers searched Ms Davidson's bedroom, including under the bed, but there was no sign of her, the inquest at Newport was told on Tuesday.

But when the police returned the following afternoon, they re-inspected the room, finding the 38-year-old under the bed.

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Paramedics were called and pronounced Ms Davidson dead. The police officers who attended the scene said there was no evidence of suspicious activity or third-party involvement.

The coroner heard post mortem evidence that suggested Ms Davidson had asphyxiated as a result of aspiration pneumonitis -- a condition caused when somebody inhales food or vomit.

The 38-year-old cashier had a history of drug use, according to a statement from her sister, and a toxicology report found heroin and cocaine in Ms Davidson's system, as well as methadone and various medicines she had been prescribed.

Caroline Saunders, the senior coroner for Gwent, said that while the drugs were not individually of a normal lethal dose, they each had side effects; and the overall effects of the opioids in Ms Davidson's body would have had acted as a depressant on her respiratory system.

She said long-term drug users could potentially forget the toxic effects of the substances they took.

"They are illegal for a reason - they cause death," the coroner said.

Some of Ms Davidson's family members attended the inquest, and raised concerns about why she had not been found during the initial police search.

Ms Saunders said an inquest was not a court of blame, but added: "I'm satisfied that even if the police had discovered [Ms Davidson] on the first occasion... she would not have been revivable."

Earlier, written evidence from the police officer who conducted the January 25 search was heard. He said the area under the bed had been checked using a torch - and this was confirmed by Ms Davidson's sister in her own statement.

But the police officer noted the room had been untidy and was in darkness, with several lightbulbs in the house not working.

The police officer who attended the house for the second search confirmed the "poor condition" of the room and said black rubbish bags were strewn "all around the bed" with little room for manoeuver.

The coroner recorded a conclusion of a drug-related death.