A GRANDFATHER from Newquay was “on the road to recovery” from drug addiction, only to accidentally overdose on a cocktail of sherry and medication, an inquest heard.
Shane Stacey, 44, of Henver Road, was found slumped on the floor of a friend’s flat in a halfway house on February 6 last year.
Doctors initially thought the father-of-five had died from a heroin overdose, but Truro Coroner’s Court was told today that there was no evidence he had taken the class A drug.
Coroner Emma Carlyon ruled instead that the opiates found in Mr Stacey’s system were from prescription medication, rather than street drugs.
Tim Spree, a mental health nurse and outreach worker, said: “He was on the road to recovery. The frustrating thing is that had he not died he would have moved more towards abstinence [from alcohol and drugs].”
The court heard that Liskeard-born Mr Stacey had a history of drug addiction and mental illness, including paranoid schizophrenia, and had overdosed nine times between 1994 and 2002.
He had been to prison several times, went through spells of sleeping on the streets, and suffered a double blow in 2012 when he lost both his mother and brother.
On October 31 2012, while living in Plymouth, he found himself in hospital with a head injury as either the victim of a vicious assault, or a self-induced fall or seizure.
During his three weeks in care he underwent a successful detox, and started to show signs of wanting to kick his habits.
Mr Spree said: “He had a cavalier attitude to his health and life expectancy but this was a realisation that he was vulnerable.”
However, he moved to accommodation at Cardinham and then to Newquay in January 2013, where he began to drink more.
Daughter Jade Stacey said: “We knew [the move to Newquay] would increase the availability of drugs and alcohol. He became drunk more often and this was having a negative effect on him.”
On February 5, the day before he was found dead, Mr Stacey had met a friend, Barry Brock-Hoskins, in town where they had visited the soup kitchen before buying sherry.
They downed the drink along with valium tablets, ending up at Mr Brock-Hoskins’s flat at Luke House, St Columb Minor, at around 6pm.
Another friend, Harry Atkinson, who lives in a tent near the village, said he had dropped by to see the pair drinking morphine-based prescription painkiller Oramorph “like cough medicine”. Mr Stacey was found dead the next morning at 6.45am.
Paying tribute to her father after the inquest, Jade said: “He was good as gold with his grandchildren, and loved to play with them when he saw us. He was the nicest person in the world when he hadn’t been drinking. He’ll be sadly missed.”
Dr Carlyon recorded a verdict of accidental death. The cause of death was opiate overdose, combined with alcohol and two other prescription drugs.