Coroner records Barry drugs death verdict
AN INQUEST into the death of a Barry man has heard he had been a drug user since he was a schoolboy.
David Craig Thomas, of Elizabeth Avenue, Colcot, died at the University Hospital of Wales on July 10 this year.
Cardiff and Vale Coroner Mary Elizabeth Hassell recorded a verdict of death by dependence on drugs.
The inquest began on October 2 and resumed on October 15, after Mr ThomasÕs family had raised concerns over the circumstances of the discovery of his body, and two witnesses were called to give evidence in person.
On the first day of the inquest, the court heard how the 33-year-old asbestos stripper had recently been released after serving eight months in prison where he had been clean of drugs, but that soon after his release he had fallen back into his old habits.
The court was told how Mr Thomas, who had taken drugs from the age of 15 and had a history of using heroin, crack cocaine and downers, had been taking "Brain Base" before he died - a mixture of speed and Mcat.
Consultant pathologist at University Hospital Llandough, Thomas Hockey said the drugs that he had taken before his death had resulted in respiratory depression and hypoxic brain injury, and that his drug tolerance had been reduced following his time in custody.
He said tests following the post-mortem examination had detected a combination of oxycodone, temazepam, diazepam and two metabolites.
Giving evidence at the resumed inquest two weeks later, Mr ThomasÕs friend Rita Lydon told the court he had been staying at her home in Elizabeth Avenue and she had been cooking for him.
She said he had been using heroin there with another friend, Becky Morris, on July 7, but the following morning Ms Morris had been unable to wake him.
She told the court she had been friends with Mr Thomas and they were seeing how their relationship would progress following his release from prison, and confirmed that they had been using heroin.
Telling the court she had been unable to wake him, she added: "I was screaming. I was hysterical at that point."
Mr Thomas died in hospital two days later.
Recording her verdict, Coroner Mary Hassell said there was no evidence that anyone had forced David to take drugs or that he had wanted to end his life.
She said: "David had used drugs, a variety of drugs, for many years.
"He was not long out of prison. It's a very common scenario that a person does not realise they have the same tolerance.
"I feel that's what happened here. The dye was cast, he had taken the drugs and they had devastating consequences."
Speaking after the verdict, David's sister Nicola Thomas, also known as Nicola Peck Ð who had a tattoo of her brother on her shoulder Ð said: "He took drugs, but he had a heart of gold," she added.