Family's questions 'remain unanswered' after Wigan man's drugs death

A family may never find out exactly what happened in the days before a dad-of-three was found dead at a house in Wigan, a coroner warned.
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An inquest has been held at Bolton Coroner’s Court to establish the circumstances surrounding the death of 41-year-old Darren Kay.

Paramedics were called to his friend John Brown’s flat in Scholes on the evening of June 12 and confirmed he had died.

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But exactly when he died and what happened in his final days could not be confirmed, as Mr Brown struggled to give a clear timeline in court, blaming his poor memory and drug use.

Bolton Coroner's CourtBolton Coroner's Court
Bolton Coroner's Court
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Coroner Simon Nelson told Mr Kay’s family: “I can only apologise for the fact that many of the questions you sought to ask still remain unanswered. I don’t believe that we are ever going to get the answers to those questions.”

The inquest heard Mr Kay grew up in Wigan, but had a “difficult” childhood.

He started taking drugs as a teenager and his life began to “spiral out of control” after he found his mother dead from an overdose when he was 17.

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He fell into a cycle of getting into trouble, being sent to prison, leaving prison, using drugs and ending up back in prison, the court heard.

Mr Brown said he saw Mr Kay at Scholes Precinct in the early hours of Saturday, June 10.

His clothes and two binbags filled with his belongings were wet from the rain, and he had nowhere to go as he was homeless, so Mr Brown agreed he could stay with him.

They went to a flat in Scholes to buy crack and heroin, before going to Mr Brown’s flat to take the drugs and watch television.

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Mr Brown said they were awake all night and slept during the day. He woke up at one point and heard Mr Kay snoring, so moved his head.

“The next thing I remember was waking up, seeing Darren and he seemed to be in the same position that I had put him in. He hadn’t moved and he was very pale,” he said.

Mr Brown said his friend was unresponsive and as his mobile phone did not always work, he went to a pub, knocked on doors and then went to Scholes Precinct looking for a phone to call 999.

Despite extensive questioning in court, Mr Brown could not say on which day he found Mr Kay unresponsive and his family was concerned it may have been some time before emergency services were called. He denied this was the case.

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Records show the 999 call was made at 7.49pm on Monday, June 12 and paramedics confirmed Mr Kay had died at 8.15pm.

His cause of death was found to be acute methadone, heroin/morphine and pregabalin toxicity.

A police investigation was carried out and Mr Brown was arrested, but the court heard he gave different accounts of what happened when interviewed.

Police concluded there was no third party involvement in Mr Kay’s death.

Mr Nelson recorded his death was drug-related, saying: “Darren certainly could not have been aware of the likely consequences having ingested those drugs, so his death was certainly not deliberate.”

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