Promising young man from Cosham dies after taking a cocktail of drugs

Inquests. PNL-151014-120252001

A DEADLY cocktail of drugs combined to cause the death of an ‘intelligent’ young man battling an addiction with narcotics, a court has heard.

Richard Lilly was found dead in his bedroom at the family home in Hawthorn Crescent, Cosham, on June 8.

An inquest at Portsmouth Coroner’s Court heard the former electrical fitter had been battling to beat his heroin addiction for almost two years.

But on the night before his body was found, the ‘promising’ 32-year-old had taken a cocktail of other drugs.

The narcotics combined to slow his breathing and heart rate to such a level he slipped into a coma and later suffocated to death.

He was found lying face down in his bed by his uncle who was called by Mr Lilly’s mum, Heather, to check up on him after she became concerned for his welfare.

PC Laura Cade provided a report of the investigation by police in Cosham.

Speaking during the hearing, she said Mr Lilly had been found surrounded by an ‘astonishing’ number of beer cans and drug paraphernalia.

‘It was clear that his drug use had become out of control,’ she told the court.

When paramedics arrived they pronounced Mr Lilly had died and did not give him any CPR.

A post-mortem examination by Dr David Cowlishaw, a pathologist at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester found a number of drugs in Mr Lilly’s system.

Toxicology tests revealed there was a low level of a number of narcotics, including morphine, diazepam and other benzodiazepines.

In a report by Dr Cowlishaw, read by coroner David Horsley, the pathologist said the drugs could have acted ‘synergistically to depress cardiorespiratory function’.

‘He was found face down on the mattress and it was probably the drugs that led to asphyxiation,’ he wrote, adding no alcohol had been found in Mr Lilly’s body.

In a letter, Dr Andrew Ozzard, Mr Lilly’s GP, said Richard had been supported by a rehabilitation service to beat his addiction.

Mr Lilly’s heartbroken father, Noel, added his son had been determined to get clean, saying Richard was ‘very intelligent’.

He said Richard was using a substitute to help him come off the drugs.

Sitting with his wife by his side, he told the court: ‘He worked very hard for about two years. He was very, very keen on trying his hardest to come off heroin.’

Reaching a conclusion of a drug-related death, Mr Horsley said: ‘This is a very sad set of circumstances to hear about this young man, who had a good job and was a very intelligent person but had become involved in drugs.

‘He fought the problem with the support of a loving family and also with – quite clearly – a lot of determination of his own.

‘Sadly, addiction being such an awful thing he lost that fight. Therefore I have to conclude Richard’s death is a drug-related one.’

Addressing Mr Lilly’s grieving parents, Mr Horsley added: ‘I’m so awfully sorry.

‘It is so sad when a young man with such promise loses his life in this way, particularly when supported by such a loving family who were all doing their best for him.’

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