Compo binge killed man, 31

News story
News story

A WIGAN man died of a heart attack after blowing a £3,000 compensation windfall on a cocktail of drink and drugs, an inquest has ruled.

Keiron McNamara, 31, secured the bumper pay-out after suffering whiplash in a car accident.

But friends told an inquest into his death he kept his good fortune hidden from his parents and instead used the cash to fuel his drinking and drug-taking.

A post mortem revealed Mr McNamara, of Rose Avenue, Beech Hill, had two and a half times the drink drive limit of alcohol in his body when he suffered a fatal heart attack, along with therapeutic levels for prescription drugs diazepam and tramadol, a morphine-based medicine. He also tested positive for cocaine.

Pathologist Dr Naveen Sharma revealed that although none of the drugs were considered to be individually at fatal levels, they had combined to cause his respiratory failure.

Earlier friend and witness Ben Mirtalee told yesterday’s hearing at Bolton Coroners’ Court that Mr McNamara had fuelled his drug-taking and drinking with a £3,200 whiplash compensation pay-out which was unknown to his parents Pauline Smalley and Peter McNamara.

Mr McNamara had been found on January 8 suffering a heart attack in the bed of friend Lorraine Bamber, also of Rose Avenue.

Earlier, there were stormy scenes in court as coroner Alan Walsh repeatedly warned he would “clear the court” after witnesses clashed over the detail of what happened in the hours before Mr McNamara’s death.

Several witnesses challenged the detail of their own statements, claiming they hadn’t read them before signing.

However, GMP coroners officer Alison Ward revealed that there are no criminal proceedings arising from Mr McNamara’s death.

Ms Bamber said that Mr McNamara, who she had known as a friend for several years, snatched a bottle of her own prescribed morphine suspension medication, which she took to ease a number of ailments. Two male friends, who he brought along with him to Ms Bamber’s home, had seen him take several swigs of the medicine, even though Ms Bamber later attempted to take it off him because of the dangers it represented.

The next morning it was found that at least 70ml of the medication had been consumed.

Ms Bamber insisted that she and Mr McNamara had never had a sexual relationship and both had shared her bed at the end of the five hour visit “only for a cuddle” and had remained fully clothed.

Mr Walsh told Mr McNamara’s family: “The death of a 31-year-old in these circumstances is a total waste of life.

“I hope that this inquest can give a severe warning to anybody that taking medicines prescribed to others and then taken substances which have been purchased on the underground market, along with a large quantity of alcohol, will put you life in jeopardy from the cumulative effects.

“This also has catastrophic and devastating effect on the family which is left behind.”

Verdict: Misadventure.