A woman thought to have been murdered by her ex-boyfriend actually died during a sex act in the shower, an inquest heard.

Police launched a murder investigation after Sandra Moore, 40, was found dead at her flat in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.

A man was seen leaving the property not long before her body was discovered hanging in the bathroom, the coroner heard.

But police later ruled out any third party involvement in Ms Moore’s death after further evidence emerged, reports Stoke on Trent Live.

The coroner ruled that Ms Moore, also known as Michaela, died from external neck compression caused by hanging during an act of autoeroticism.

Medical tests revealed that she also had monkey dust in her system when she died.

A police officer told the inquest how Ms Moore had been working in prostitution.

It was said that men would climb through the window to gain access to her flat in the women-only accommodation block where she lived in Shelton, despite this being banned.

Emergency services had been called to the address, operated by Concrete Housing, in the early hours of May 31 last year. A member of staff had last seen her alive at midnight.

The employee told the inquest: “I heard a noise outside. The front door is always locked. I went to open the door and saw her standing there holding a black bike.

“She was alone. I asked her what she was doing, and she said she was trying to get her bike to the window.

“I helped to bring the bike inside and said it should be left in the kitchen area. She refused so I let her take it up, I carried it up and left it by a wall in the corridor.

“She refused further help from me and waited for me to go to the staffroom before she moved the bike into the bedroom.

“At 12.20am I heard a bang so I knocked on her door. At 1am I heard another loud bang, I went to her door and knocked. She spoke through the door.

“I asked her to keep the noise down. At 1.30am, I asked if she was okay and there wasn’t a response. I didn’t have any concerns.

“At around 7.55am I heard a male come out of her room, I had never seen him before. I went inside and saw she was inside the shower. I left to get my phone to call the ambulance.”

The inquest heard that a man was arrested and interviewed on suspicion of murder.

DS Adam Turton said: “The deceased was found in a shower cubicle in a seated position. We spoke to other residents who were there. They didn’t see her but had seen men previously come into her room by climbing through the window. It’s an all female accommodation and men are not allowed.

“(She) used drugs and was involved in prostitution, according to a witness.”

According to the officer, the man arrested on suspicion of murder admitted being present and said Ms Moore was an ex-girlfriend.

The inquest heard that the day before her death, the pair met and she was upset.

DS Turton added: “She invited him back and he sneaked in. They talked and smoked. He passed out. They both used monkey dust together. He denied murder. On CCTV we could see the two of them. It gave support to his story. There was no evidence to suggest force was used on her.”

The inquest heard she had previously tried to kill herself. But North Staffordshire assistant coroner Daniel Howe ruled out suicide, instead recording a conclusion of ‘misadventure’.

He said: “The findings are in keeping with her having hanged herself. On the balance of probabilities, this was not an attempt to end her own life.

“There’s no clear evidence of recent suicidal ideation. It was an act of autoeroticism.

“I do not find she intended to end her own life. It’s not a case of suicide. The conclusion is one of misadventure.”