THE partner of a woman who died from an alcohol-related brain injury has warned of the dangers of binge drinking.
Elita Eltermane, 43, of Newcourt, Cowley, slipped over and cut her head while celebrating her friend's birthday at her boyfriend, Peter Collins' home in Maple Cross, near Rickmansworth, on September 21 last year.
Ms Eltermane later complained of feeling unwell and was rushed to hospital the following day where she suffered a major brain haemorrhage.
She was taken to intensive care but doctors were unable to save her.
At the inquest into her death today (17), Hatfield Coroner's Court heard that Ms Eltermane drank excessively to escape the mental anguish caused by her abusive ex-partner, who once broke her jaw after punching her in the face.
Medical records confirmed she was alcohol dependent and had regularly fallen over after binge-drinking episodes.
She also had a history of anxiety and depression and was prone to blackouts and epileptic seizures.
The court heard Ms Eltermane, who moved to the UK from Latvia about 15 years ago, struck her head on a plastic bin after losing her balance at the party.
Mr Collins, of Ladywalk, said: "It was a very minute cut and she seemed fine afterwards.
"The next morning we went out but when we got home she started vomiting and complaining of bad headaches.
"We went to bed at about 1am but she woke me up and said she felt really sick, so I called an ambulance."
Coroner Edward Thomas, who recorded a verdict of accidental death due to alcohol abuse, said the brain haemorrhage could not have occurred through natural causes.
"Although the cut was tiny, alcohol problems can mean the blood doesn't clot and the internal bleeding in the brain over time proved fatal," he said.
Mr Collins, who met Ms Eltermane last June, urged her to seek help for her alcohol addiction.
He said: "I realised she had a drink problem and tried to get her to get treatment.
"When she was sober, you couldn't have met a nicer person, she was so lovely and very intelligent.
"She was doing a course to improve her English, plus she also volunteered at a charity shop.
"She lost her 12-year-old daughter and father in car crash in Latvia six years ago and this is even more tragic for her family, they are heartbroken."
Now Mr Collins is urging people to be aware of the dangers of binge drinking.
"Drinking in moderation is fine, but it is a slippery slope and the addiction is like a disease, it takes hold very quickly," he said.
"Elita wanted to stop drinking but relied on alcohol to make all her problems go away. I did my best to help her but maybe she might still be alive today if she managed to kick the habit."
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