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Female bodybuilder and porn star, 43, died from drugs after crash injury pain drove her to heroin

Female bodybuilder and porn star, 43, who enjoyed ‘high life, celebrity parties and fast cars’ died from cocktail of drugs after pain from crash injury drove her to heroin

  • Joanna Thomas, 43, was found dead in her flat in Camborne, Cornwall, in April
  • She was youngest female to earn a pro card in bodybuilding generation aged 21
  • Was injured in car crash and started taking pain medication not available in UK 

A former British champion bodybuilder and porn star died from a cocktail of drugs after pain from a crash injury drove her to heroin. 

Joanna Thomas, 43, took a cocktail of drugs to ease the constant pain she was left in as a result of her bodybuilding career.

She was found dead in her flat in Camborne, Cornwall, surrounded by medication and drug paraphenalia in April 2020. 

Joanna Thomas, 43, (pictured) died from a cocktail of drugs after pain from a crash injury drove her to heroin

She was injured in a car crash and started taking strong pain relief medication that was not available in the UK – eventually taking heroin a couple of times a week. 

Ms Thomas achieved fame in the USA after becoming the youngest female to earn a pro card in her bodybuilding generation aged just 21.   

She lived the high life for 12 years and trained at the Golds Gym in Venice, California, during a long career. 

In 2005 Joanna featured in a Channel Five documentary called Supersize She – a show showing her training ahead of the 2004 Ms Olympia contest. 

Ms Thomas achieved fame in the USA after becoming the youngest female to earn a pro card in her bodybuilding generation aged just 21, and was found dead in her flat in April

Ms Thomas achieved fame in the USA after becoming the youngest female to earn a pro card in her bodybuilding generation aged just 21, and was found dead in her flat in April 

The acting senior coroner for Cornwall, Andrew Cox, read a statement from Joanna’s mother Mary following an inquest into her death on Monday.

She told the Truro inquest that when Joanna was 22 she moved to the USA and became a professional bodybuilder, where she had a ‘very successful career’.

Mary said: ‘She was living the high life, mixing with celebrities, driving fast cars, living in big houses and going to lots of parties.’ 

She married an American and they came to the UK – but he could not get a work permit and returned to America. They divorced and he later died.

Meanwhile Joanna returned to her native Cornwall and  began some modelling jobs, as well as starring in adult movies. 

She was taking prescribed medication as well as illicit drugs including heroin to dull the pain she suffered in her nack, back and knees.

Mary said: ‘We were aware she used heroin, once or twice a week. We were not happy about it. She had taken heroin for three or four years.’ 

A note written in May was found there by her mum which said if she was found dead ‘it would have been an accident’.

Mary said: ‘I don’t believe she would have killed herself. Her body gave up and could not cope with the cocktail of drugs she had ingested.’

But she was injured in a car crash and started taking strong pain relief medication that was not available in the UK

But she was injured in a car crash and started taking strong pain relief medication that was not available in the UK

Her GP surgery said Joanna was a ‘very complex case’ and she had used steroids and anabolic steroids in her body building career, as well as illegal drugs and prescribed medication.

She had a ‘very difficult life’ the inquest heard, and had been exposed to dangers which included ‘sexual, physical and emotional abuse’.

Her mum said when Joanna was 14 she was groomed by one of their lodgers and had a sexual relationship with her ‘despite her age’ – something her family were unaware of at the time.

Coroner Mr Cox said Joanna had a very busy life in a short space of time and rose quickly and led a high life at a young age.

He said she took drugs to ease the constant pain she suffered but there was no clear intention of suicide and ‘no evidence of a deliberate attempt to take her own life’.

Mr Cox added: ‘It seems to me that what has happened is that Joanna has unintentionally taken too much of the medication prescribed to her in addition to the illicit medication which has unintentionally resulted in her death. ‘ 

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