Blackpool man, 21, died of 'drugs cocktail'

A Blackpool man died after taking a "toxic cocktail" of drugs – including one at EIGHT times the fatal level – an inquest heard.

Blackpool Coroner's Court heard David John Tumelty, who was 21, had taken a combination of several different types of anti-depressants, tranquillisers and codeine, as well as illegal drugs.

Pathologist James Johnstone, who carried out the post mortem on Mr Tumelty, of Spencer Court, Layton, described how he found a level of the anti-depressant drug amitriptyline of 4,000 microgrammes.

The lethal dose of the prescription medication would be about 500 microgrammes.

There was also present 2,600 microgrammes of another anti-depressant, nortriptyline – a fatal amount would have been about 1,000.

The inquest heard Mr Tumelty, originally from Northern Ireland, was pronounced dead at 1.48pm on February 1 at his home by paramedics and his body was identified by his mother, Dorothy.

A statement was read out in which his brother Thomas described how he had seen Mr Tumelty the night before and that he seemed in "good spirits".

The statement described how Mr Tumelty had visited his brother and made him dinner before going outside to speak to a neighbour and returning with a bag of around 50 blue tablets, which he told his brother were diazepam.

He then took four or five tablets before going home.

In his statement, his brother said: "For about three years, David had been on disability living allowance due to suffering mental health problems.

"He had social phobia and drank constantly.

"He was on prescribed medication from the doctor.

"When he visited me he had not been drinking and had not taken any other drugs."

But Dr Johnstone – after finding residue of pills in Mr Tumelty's stomach – carried out toxicology tests, which tested positive for benzodiazepines, cannabis, opiates, barbiturates, cocaine and methadone, codeine, amitriptyline and nortriptyline.

He gave the cause of death as an overdose of amitriptyline, but said levels of some of the other drugs would also have been enough to cause death.

Recording a verdict of death by dependent drug abuse, Blackpool Coroner Anne Hind said it was a "huge constellation of drugs", but there was no evidence Mr Tumelty had intended to cause his own death.

She said: "They were prescription drugs, but we have heard he bought a bag just off the street.

"These are mind-altering substances and people don't seem to be able to resist them.

"It seems he went on a slippery slope very early on."