Inquest delayed after key witness fail to turn up

Bolton Coroner's Court
Bolton Coroner's Court

A WIGAN family will have to wait another agonising week to discover how their loved one died after an inquest had to be adjourned.

After hearing the majority of evidence into Christopher Keogh’s death, assistant coroner Rachel Griffin ordered for the delay after a key witness failed to turn up.

The hearing, held at Bolton Coroner’s Court, established that the 35-year-old died on Wednesday June 24 from heroin and alcohol toxicity.

Christopher’s dad, Anthony, revealed that he had a problem with alcohol but was seeking help from Addaction, based in Leigh.

He added that he suspected his son took drugs, such as cannabis, cocaine and heroin, but he had always denied it. He also mentioned that the former plasterer from Astley had self-harmed in the past, but believed it was more of a cry for help to get into rehabilitation sooner.

The last time he spoke to him was June 21. Mr Keogh said: “He was his usual happy self. I was going on holiday and he told me to have a good time. He never talked about ending his own life. He would never have done anything whilst I was out of the country. He said ‘see you when you get back.’”

Lina Reid, Greater Manchester West Mental Health Trust recovery co-ordinator at Addaction, in Leigh, said she first met Christopher in February and he was very motivated to seek help. He had told her he would drink between six and seven cans of lager and one litre of cider a day and that he had taken heroin at the end of 2014, but was not a regular user.

He had requested residential detox at a hospital to help him get rid of his addiction and had completed his referral two days before his death,

She said: “He was really motivated keen to stop drinking. He was looking forward to his detox. I had no concern over his mental health.”

Norman Cullen, nurse prescriber at GM West, said Christopher had been seeking support from GM West on and off since 2005 and his drinking had increased over the last few months.

He had been using crack cocaine fairly regularly - one a week or once a fortnight - but there was no mention of heroin.

He added: “Christopher had mentioned suicidal thoughts but was not actively suicidal.

“He attended appointments and was looking forward to detox and life after alcohol.

“It was felt he needed inpatient referral/residential detox, rather than community detox as there were risk factors. He needed more support which would be given in hospital, rather than in the community. There were no concerns that he needed an urgent referral.”

A post-morterm examination concluded that Christopher had high levels of morphine in his blood, which suggested he had injected the drug, but there were no injection marks.

There was also a large volume of alcohol in his urine.

Pathologist Dr Naveen Sharma concluded Christopher died of mixed heroin and alcohol toxicity.

The inquest was adjourned until next Thursday as a witness, Adrian Lawton, had not turned up.

Christopher’s family requested that he be at the hearing.

Following his recollection of the day leading up to Christopher’s death, the police will also give evidence next week.