Coroner rules Exmouth father's death was drug-related

PUBLISHED: 12:30 28 April 2017

County Hall. Ref exe 04-17 5978. Picture: Terry Ife

County Hall. Ref exe 04-17 5978. Picture: Terry Ife

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An Exmouth father was found dead at home having taken heroin, an inquest has heard.

Clayton Durley, 40, of Fore Street, was found at home by his wife, slumped in a chair on the afternoon of June 27 last year.

The inquest at County Hall heard that a housemate then attempted CPR until paramedics arrived, but Mr Durley was pronounced dead at the scene.

An uncapped needle was found, containing a liquid police suspected to be heroin, the court was told.

Detective Constable Angela Galasso, then of Exmouth CID, told the inquest she suspected Mr Durley had purchased heroin on the morning of the day he died.

The inquest heard a witness had seen Mr Durley in the town centre at around 9.25am on June 27 in conversation with someone who was believed to be a known drug user.

A post-mortem report found that Mr Durley’s system contained morphine, along with painkillers, and concluded that his death was due to ‘mixed drug toxicity’.

The inquest heard that Mr Durley had been seen by housemates earlier on the day he died, sleeping in the chair in which he was later found, but that they had witnessed him breathing and had no cause for concern.

Elaine Petch, Mr Durley’s childhood social worker who he later referred to as his mother, told the inquest that Mr Durley had faced many challenges in life, but always fought bravely to overcome them.

The inquest heard that at the age of 17 he had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, requiring chemotherapy treatment, and that following recovery, he had run half-marathons to raise money for cancer charities.

The inquest also heard that having previously stopped using illegal drugs, Mr Durley became a mentor supporting others facing drug problems.

He had also received support for anxiety and depression.

Ms Petch said: “He always turned challenges to something very positive. He fought these things with courage and bravery.”

Lydia Brown, assistant coroner for Exeter and Greater Devon, recorded a conclusion of drug-related death.

She said: “We have heard at the time he died he did have a significant quantity of street heroin within him and it would seem he has succumbed very rapidly to the effects that drug gives you when ingested.”

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