Inquest finds March man’s death was drug related but was not suicide

PUBLISHED: 12:20 12 March 2015 | UPDATED: 12:50 12 March 2015

South Fens Business Park, Chatteris

South Fens Business Park, Chatteris

Archant

March man Shane Leonard’s death five months after his partner died of an accidental overdose was also drug related an inquest decided.

And like his partner Kelly Barford, who died after accidentally taking too many painkillers in May last year, Mr Leonard’s death was also not suicide.

The hearing at South Fens Business Park yesterday heard from Mr Leonard’s father Gerald Leonard that his son had contacted him on the evening of October 19 to say he had taken the “wrong tablets”.

But Mr Leonard, who went straight round to his son’s home in Morton Avenue, said his son never explained exactly what he had taken or how the mistake had happened.

A post mortem showed Mr Leonard junior had died after taking methadone and a painkiller prescribed for shoulder pain with the cause of death given as drug toxicity.

The hearing heard a combination of the drugs would have suppressed Mr Leonard’s breathing mechanism, which meant he had fallen asleep and never woke up.

Mr Leonard senior told the hearing he had no idea where his son had got the methadone from, but suggested it could have belonged to Miss Barford, who had been a long-term drug user, although she had been doing well at the time of her death.

Mr Leonard stayed at his son’s overnight and checked on him during the night. His son was snoring on the first occasion, the second time he had been sleeping peacefully.

But at around 6am on October 20 when he got up to go to the toilet he began to suspect something was wrong and when he checked his son was dead in bed.

Mr Leonard said his son did not indicate he had taken the medication deliberately and had reassured him he was feeling better when he went round to the house.

“He was depressed after the death of his partner, but he never talked about taking his own life. In the two weeks before he died I felt he was getting better about things as far as the death of his partner was concerned and about coping,” said Mr Leonard.

Coroner William Morris concluded Mr Leonard’s death was drug related.

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