Wigan dad in pain died after taking illicit drugs and prescribed medication

A dad-of-two struggling with pain due to health problems died after taking both prescription medication and illicit drugs, an inquest heard.

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 3:45 pm

Gary Shimmin, 48, was found by police officers at his home on Baker Street, Poolstock, on April 23 last year.

An inquest held at Bolton Coroner’s Court today heard his sister Stephanie Wilson had called police, after a friend of Mr Shimmin’s told her he could not contact him.

Despite attempts to resuscitate him, he was pronounced dead by paramedics.

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Bolton Coroner's Court

A post-mortem examination was carried out and samples of his blood and urine were sent for analysis.

Substances found included morphine, cocaine, cannabis, paracetamol and prescribed medication.

He also had 110 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 mls of blood, compared to the legal driving limit of 80mgs.

The medical cause of death was combined drugs toxicity.

The inquest heard Mr Shimmin was prescribed a range of medications, including morphine, to help manage the pain from osteoarthritis in his knee and a skull problem.

Mrs Wilson said he would sometimes take more than the prescribed dose.

The inquest heard Mr Shimmin grew up in Barrow and worked on oil rigs.

He got married and had two children, living an “amazing life” and working hard to support his family.

But the marriage broke down after 25 years and he could not see his children, which left him “devastated”.

His sister said he drank heavily and took cocaine.

He spent time in prison after a domestic issue with his wife’s new partner, during which he suffered mental health problems and wrote a note saying he intended to take his life.

After release in 2019, he was referred to a mental health team with anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.

Senior nurse practitioner Natalie Marland said he told her he would not take his own life due to his children.

He attended regular appointments for treatment for several months, followed by more sessions with the Think Well-Being service.

PC Paul Beck told the hearing no suicide note was found and Mrs Wilson said she did not believe her brother intended to kill himself, as he was making progress in trying to see his children, had an exercise bike and had clothes in the washing machine.

Coroner Alan Wash concluded Mr Shimmin’s death was drugs-related.

He said: “He was a man suffering severe pain and a man who saw his life having been destroyed, maybe initially by his own actions, and he was devastated.”

During the inquest he called for police officers to have more training on deaths when special procedures should be used, including drugs-related deaths.

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