Man dies of morphine overdose on birthday

PUBLISHED: 13:00 21 June 2014

North Somerset Coroner's Court

North Somerset Coroner's Court

Archant

A WESTON man died in his sleep on his birthday after taking a 'very high quantity' of morphine, a coroner has heard.

Peter Checkley, otherwise known as Peter Sparks, was in bed with his girlfriend Kirsty Farr at her home in Argyle Avenue when he died.

He was declared dead on November 6 at 8.55am by a paramedic, according to evidence heard at an inquest on Tuesday at Flax Bourton Coroners Court.

The 26-year-old, who lived in Williton Crescent, was unemployed due to sickness and depression.

He was diagnosed with mental and behavioural issues in 2003 due to alcohol abuse, drinking up to seven litres of cider a day, according to his doctor.

The night before he had taken up to six morphine tablets and a morphine patch, although these were not prescribed to him.

He had also taken a small amount of cocaine.

Detective Constable Jim Turnham, who worked on the case, said: “In my opinion he was very well known to have a drug history.

“It was his birthday, so I think he was trying to get as intoxicated as possible.”

The drugs were provided by Nathan Gibson, who told police he found them abandoned while on his way home to water his cannabis plants.

Mr Gibson was later arrested and charged with supplying drugs, but was found not guilty by a jury at Bristol Crown Court.

At the end of the evening, Miss Farr collected Mr Checkley from a friend’s house in Selworthy Road and went back to her house.

Assistant coroner Peter Harrowing said: “He obtained some tablets and patches of very high strength, and even though he was well used to taking morphine and similar drugs, the quantity had a significant effect on him and brought about his demise.

“It was a very high quantity indeed, and sadly he did not realise the strength and potency of the drugs he was taking.”

His death was recorded as accidental, caused by acute morphine toxicity.

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