Long-term drug user died at Wigan hotel used as homeless shelter just two days after Christmas

A man died two days after Christmas from the combined effects of drugs at a Wigan hotel used as a homeless shelter.
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Bolton Coroner’s Court was told Lee Greensmith, 48, went drinking in Wigan town centre on Boxing Day before falling asleep in girlfriend Lisa Unsworth’s room at the Mercure Oak Hotel at 4.30pm.

He was snoring as she watched television beside him and was still snoring at 1.30am the following day, when she woke up after going to sleep.

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Lee GreensmithLee Greensmith
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But when Lisa woke again at 4am, Lee was no longer snoring and she could not find a pulse.

She raised the alarm with security staff, who called 999 and began CPR.

A paramedic arrived in a rapid response vehicle, took over CPR and found Lee was in cardiac arrest.

An ambulance also attended, but staff were delayed as the gates to the Orchard Street hotel were locked, the elevator was not working so they had to walk to the fifth floor and one paramedic had to return for a drugs bag left in the vehicle.

Lee Greensmith died at the Mercure Oak Hotel in WiganLee Greensmith died at the Mercure Oak Hotel in Wigan
Lee Greensmith died at the Mercure Oak Hotel in Wigan
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The paramedics tried to revive Lee, but he was confirmed to have died at 5.16am.

A post-mortem examination found he had taken several substances, including pregabalin in the range associated with toxicities. Used to treat epilepsy, anxiety and nerve pain, it was not prescribed to Lee and he bought it illicitly.

He had also taken methadone, prescribed to treat heroin addiction, nordiazepam, which is not available on prescription in the UK, and other medications.

The court heard the combined effects of these drugs caused his death.

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Lee grew up in Leigh and started taking drugs when he was 18 or 19, falling into the “wrong crowd” and spending time in prison after committing crimes to fund his habit, the inquest heard.

He had been living at the Mercure Oak Hotel since being released from prison in August.

He was referred to drug and alcohol misuse service We Are With You and was prescribed methadone, which he took daily while supervised by a pharmacist.

Recovery worker Andrew Stanley told the inquest Lee’s engagement was “minimal”, but coroner Prof Dr Alan Walsh expressed concerns that he only met Lee once – on November 10 – and there was no record of a plan or future appointments.

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Team leader Richard Chapman said it was a “recording issue” and a member of staff based at the hotel would “probably have a conversation with him every day”.

Prof Dr Walsh also expressed concerns about multiple organisations having responsibility for separate things at the hotel and his difficulty in finding the right people to give evidence.

He recorded Lee’s death was “drug-related”, telling his family he did not believe he had died by suicide.

He said: “I do believe that he lived a chaotic life that he couldn’t escape.

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"I have heard the evidence that he was referred to We Are With You and I am disappointed that there is no record of any consultation with him on November 10, nor any appointments after November 10. That is not acceptable.

"But on the basis that he was continuing to use illicit substances, I accept it is unlikely to have changed the outcome.”

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