Man died outside Wigan gym after taking fatal cocktail of drugs and alcohol

A man died outside a Wigan gym after taking a fatal cocktail of drugs and alcohol, an inquest heard.


Gary Morecroft was found dead outside Apex Gym in Hindley on the morning of July 7, having consumed almost a full bottle of whiskey which, along with prescription drugs he was taking to treat a heroin addiction, stopped him breathing in his sleep.

Apex Gym in Hindley

Apex Gym in Hindley

The 40-year-old had been drinking outside the gym the previous evening, along with several gym users who were enjoying the summer weather. He fell asleep on an outdoor sofa and stopped breathing in the night.

In a hearing at Bolton Coroners’ Court yesterday, assistant coroner Rachel Galloway recorded a conclusion of “combined drug and alcohol toxicity” after hearing details of Mr Morecroft’s death.

The inquest heard that Mr Morecroft was one of four children, and grew up in the care system in Bolton. He fell into hard drugs at an early age and also began drinking heavily.

On the evening of July 6, Apex Gym owner Graham Hodgson and several gym members were sat in the gym forecourt enjoying a drink in the summer weather, when they were approached by Mr Morecroft. He was known to them, and they invited him to stay and have a drink with them.

Mr Hodgson and another witness Thomas Fillingham, both reported seeing Mr Morecroft drink approximately three quarters of litre bottle of whiskey, but did not see him take any other substance.

Shortly after 9pm the group decided to go home, by which point Mr Morecroft had fallen asleep. They could not wake him, so placed him on a sofa that was outside the gym, and Mr Fillingham agreed to return to check on him through the night. He returned around midnight with a sleeping bag to keep him warm.

When he returned again around 6.40am, he could not wake Mr Morecroft, and paramedics were called soon afterwards. Despite their best efforts, he could not be revived and was pronounced dead at the scene.

A post-mortem found high levels of alcohol and buprenorphine, an opioid used to treat heroin addiction, as well as lower levels of other drugs such as amphetamine and diazepam. Coroner Ms Galloway said although the “cocktail of drugs”, were not taken in fatal levels by themselves, they “worked in synergy” to create a sedative effect that stopped Mr Morecroft breathing.