Tragic dad took toxic dose of drink and drugs

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A FATHER-of-one from Wigan passed away aged just 30 after taking a toxic dose of alcohol and heroin.

Heavy drinker Andrew Albert O’Brien was found unresponsive by a pal at his Kitt Green Road home on February 7 this year.

Sadly, despite Ryan McCormick’s efforts to revive him, Mr O’Brien passed away at Wigan Infirmary a short time later.

Bolton Coroner’s Court heard how Mr O’Brien had been a heavy drinker for a number of years - despite being warned to stop by doctors after vomiting blood.

His sister, Lorraine, told police how, when he was sober, the ex-Pembec High pupil was one of the nicest men you could ever wish to meet, but when he was drunk he could be unpredictable.

Mr McCormick told how his pal had drunk heavily for the last 10 years - usually cider and strong lager - and would often start quite early in the morning.

On a heavy day, he could drink three bottles of cider and eight cans, Mr McCormick said.

On February 7, Mr McCormick visited Mr O’Brien’s flat and found him slumped on the couch.

He said: “Andy was a weird colour, a grey or blue sort of colour”.

Mr McCormick shouted at his pal to wake up, which he did, but later told police how he had seemed drowsy.

He then drove Mr O’Brien to his uncle’s house so he could pick up £20 before returning to Mr O’Brien’s flat at about 5.30pm.

Once again, he found his friend slumped on the couch but this time he was unable to wake him up.

An empty three-litre bottle of cider was at his side. Mr McCormick ran outside to shout for help and used a mobile phone – borrowed from a man at a bus stop – to dial 999 before commencing 

Mr O’Brien was then rushed to hospital by ambulance, but remained unresponsive despite repeated resuscitation attempts.

Detectives later reported that there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.

Pathologist Dr Steven Wells, who carried out the post mortem, found that the level of alcohol in Mr O’Brien’s system was more than three times the legal drink drive limit. Traces of morphine - from heroin - were also found, along with partially digested food, which indicated he had been vomiting.

Assistant deputy coroner Geoffrey Saul said that the alcohol and heroin had dulled Mr O’Brien’s senses to such an extent that he was unable to cough up properly.

He recorded a narrative verdict, which read: “Andrew Albert O’Brien was declared deceased on February 7 at the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary in Wigan.

“He died from aspiration of vomit due to combined alcohol and heroin toxicity.”