A CORONER has warned of the ‘great tragedy’ of young people experimenting with legal highs bought off the internet.
It comes after the death of laboratory technician Martin Gatenby, who died at the age of 27 last year after suffering a fatal side-effect from an ecstasy-type substance.
An inquest at Portsmouth Guildhall heard Martin, who had worked at the labs at Queen Alexandra Hospital, had experimented with legal highs over many years.
The drugs were delivered in the post.
In 2004, one of his orders from the US was brought to the attention of the FBI and he received a caution from Havant police.
The former Havant College student was found dead in his bedroom at his father’s house in Ernest Road, Bedhampton, on March 19 last year.
He was found by a relative after he failed to answer his phone.
In the days leading up his death, Martin had spoken about taking two substances on an online forum.
Detective Sergeant Fiona Holland investigated, but found no evidence of suspicious circumstances.
She said Martin was a ‘high achiever’ who had moved to Cambridge to be with his girlfriend, before moving back in with his dad when the relationship ended.
He was off sick from his job with a bad back.
Martin had sought help for his drugs problem, including attending group and acupuncture sessions.
Pathologist Dr Adrian Al-Badri found Martin had severe swelling on his brain, despite no overdose.
He said some amphetamine-type substances can cause the heart to beat faster, increasing the temperature inside the brain and causing a heart attack or failure of the central nervous system.
Coroner David Horsley said: ‘It’s a difficult thing – the law keeping track of chemistry.
‘These sort of things are only found out by highly intelligent people. That’s the great tragedy of it.
‘He is a very intelligent young man who has in the past experimented with all sorts of things.’
He added: ‘I have to conclude his death was due to misuse of drugs. It’s a tragedy when Martin had a lot of potential in his life.’