Coroner's warning after spate of drug deathsBy Nick Edmondson
October 03, 2012
A CORONER has issued a stark warning over the rising number of drug-related deaths in Aldershot and called for users to seek help.
The plea came from Andrew Bradley at Alton Coroners’ Court on Tuesday following three successive inquests into drug deaths in Aldershot, two of whom were friends who died within a week of one another.
Mr Bradley presided over the inquest of John Gregory, 42, who died while staying in a shared home in Ash Road on August 3 after taking heroin with alcohol.
Mr Gregory, originally from Winchester, had been living in his car following the breakdown of a relationship, had been drinking heavily and was planning to share a room with his friend Alan Pennells.
Mr Pennells, 43, a regular drug user, took heroin at around 6.30pm before passing out, the inquest heard, leaving a small quantity of the class A drug in a spoon on his bedside table.
Fellow housemate Paul Bailey went upstairs to speak to Mr Gregory and found him on all fours in the room, not breathing. He was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene and toxicology reports revealed heroin in his bloodstream.
Mr Pennells died seven days later, having taken a cocktail of ketamine, diazepam and alcohol while staying with a friend in Martingale Close. Geoffrey Holland, owner of the house, found Mr Pennells dead in his bath at 4.30am on August 10.
After recording a verdict of death by misadventure on both cases, Mr Bradley said: “I do too many of these. I seem to be dealing with a spate of them in Aldershot. I suspect it’s a real problem not just there, but everywhere.
"I just hope that looking at these cases and the effect these drugs have will mean if there is someone out there in the wilderness, listening, they might just realise that this life is not a good idea.
“This is just a horrible state of circumstances and leaves more families bereaved and for that I am very sad.”
Mr Gregory’s housemates claimed he was not a regular heroin taker, which, Mr Bradley said, would explain why he died following a small dose mixed with alcohol.
He said: “The people who use heroin build a tolerance for it and the more of it they use, the greater the tolerance that they have. Very few people realise that the effects of heroin are so dependent on tolerance.
“This small dose, coupled with alcohol, has caused his system to shut down. It is a matter of such sadness and such distress that it defies description.”
On the same day, Mr Bradley recorded a verdict of death by misadventure at the inquest of David Oakley, 29, of Farm Road, who was found collapsed in the toilet of his mother’s house on May 25.
The inquest heard Mr Oakley had struggled with a heroin addiction. A family friend, Paul Sewery, told how he had driven to Farm Road with Mr Oakley, who said he wanted to visit someone who owed him £20. Mr Sewerey said he became suspicious that Mr Oakley had bought drugs.
When they arrived at the house of Mr Oakley’s mother, he went into the toilet where he was later found collapsed having injected himself with heroin. He was taken to Frimley Park hospital but died the next day.