Addict suffers fatal relapse

Bolton Coroner's Court
Bolton Coroner's Court

A man who had vowed to give up heroin died after lapsing and accidentally taking an overdose, an inquest has heard.

Aaron Leatherbarrow, of Fairhurst Avenue, Standish, had stopped taking heroin in 2015 but on March 22 this year he met a friend and went back to his where they both injected the drug.

Bolton Coroner’s Court heard that the friend passed out and awoke sometime later to find Mr Leatherbarrow, who was 38, passed out on the floor.

He called emergency services and attempted to resuscitate him but he was declared dead a short time later.

His mum, Judith Sumner, told the court that she suspected Mr Leatherbarrow had started to experiment with drugs when he was 16 and at some point had started taking heroin. But in around June last year he had turned up at her house asking for help because he wanted to stop taking drugs.

The court heard that he moved back in with her and appeared to be doing well.

He had been engaging with the substance misuse team and a urine test in January had been clean of any illicit drugs.

But a post-mortem examination showed that Mr Leatherbarrow had 169 milligrammes of morphine per litre of blood and 108 milligrammes of alcohol per litre at the time of his death.

Dr David Barker, a consultant pathologist who carried out the autopsy, said: “Fatalities start at around 50 for someone who doesn’t take the drug that regularly.

“Even for a regular user it would be around 200.

“It does depend on your tolerance but even for a regular user 169 is quite high.”

He gave Mr Leatherbarrow’s cause of death as combined toxicity effects of heroin and alcohol.

The court heard that Mr Leatherbarrow was more at risk of overdosing as he had not taken the drug in a while and would have lost his tolerance for a dose he would have taken before.

Area coroner Alan Walsh said: “I am very sorry to the family who I believe lost him for a period to drugs but through their efforts got him back.

“Why on March 22 he should lapse is beyond imagination and I can’t find a reason why it should happen.

“For that I am very sorry and I don’t think you could have done more. For some reason he lapsed and he paid for that lapse with his life.”

Mr Walsh concluded that Mr Leatherbarrow died as a result of a drug and alcohol related death.