Search

Mother’s warning over high-strength painkillers after lawyer’s fatal fall in Camden Town

07:00 08 August 2014

William Chapman-Purchas (right)

William Chapman-Purchas (right)

Archant

The mother of a lawyer who plunged to his death from a Camden Town balcony believes the effects of heroin-like painkillers were to blame for his fall.

William Chapman-Purchas fell from five storeys up at the Lockhouse flats in Oval Road, Camden Town. Picture: Nigel SuttonWilliam Chapman-Purchas fell from five storeys up at the Lockhouse flats in Oval Road, Camden Town. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Fiona Ligonnet this week warned others to be wary of oxycodone, a high-strength painkiller similar to heroin and morphine, which she suspects contributed to the tragic death of her son William Chapman-Purchas in the early hours of Friday, April 25.

Her comments come after a coroner recorded an open verdict at an inquest last week – but said it was possible that the prescription drug played a part.

The solicitor and property developer, 42, began taking oxycodone just two days before he fell from his mother’s fifth-storey balcony in Oval Road.

She was the first to discover his lifeless body after waking and realising he was not in the flat, yet the front door was chained from the inside.

Although they will never know for certain, the family believe the drugs probably made him disorientated or even caused hallucinations, leading to him going over the edge.

Ms Ligonnet, 73, a retired archaeologist, told the Ham&High: “I feel that these very strong painkillers are doled out a bit too liberally.

“They can have side effects such as drowsiness and disorientation and that’s the only explanation for him falling from the balcony.

“I do think they should only be prescribed under greater supervision.”

Mr Chapman-Purchas, who grew up in Arlington Road, Camden Town, had been prescribed oxycodone and the antidepressant amitriptyline by a private doctor for agonising pain he was suffering due to a severe wrist injury.

He lived in Edinburgh with his wife and four-year-old son, but had been staying in his mother’s living room – which opened out to the balcony – while recovering from an operation on his wrist, which was too delicate to risk a knock on the journey back to Scotland.

The former pupil of St Paul’s Primary School, Elsworthy Road, Primrose Hill, suffered the injury when a pair of tree loppers snapped while gardening.

Despite his physical torment, Mary Hassell, senior coroner for inner north London, told St Pancras Coroner’s Court that she considered it extremely unlikely that he deliberately jumped from the balcony.

She said the drugs could have been to blame, but that there was not enough evidence to reach any definite conclusion.

His mother said: “William had everything to live for. He had a wife he loved dearly, he had a son that he absolutely adored, and he spoke to them at least three times a day while he was staying with me.

“There is no other explanation, to my mind, other than he reacted in some way to the combination of the drugs.

“If anyone is prescribed oxycodone on its own or with amitriptyline, they should think very, very carefully about whether there is an alternative, or make sure that they’re very carefully supervised when they first start taking it.

“Had the doctor said he may wake up and be disorientated, I probably would have made sure the balcony was locked.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 17:03
Ray Davies is returning to Hornsey Town Hall

Ray Davies performed one of his first gigs at the iconic venue when he was still at school, before going on to form The Kinks

Yesterday, 15:37
The coffin arrives for the funeral of David Gest arriving at Golders Green Crematorium in north London.

Mourners have remembered music producer and TV star David Gest at a funeral service in Golders Green.

Yesterday, 13:34
PC Shane Moulds has been dismissed for misconduct

A Camden police constable has been sacked for punching a member of the public he was arresting and hurling abuse at him, calling him a ‘posh twat’

Yesterday, 13:33
Big Green Bookshop is raising money for Haringey schools.  Joint owner Tim West  pictured. Photo: Nigel Sutton

Two book owners was sickened when an opportunistic thief stole £600, but their customers were “unbelievably” supportive and in a “tsunami of loveliness” helped them raise more than nine times the amount in donations.

Yesterday, 12:39
Found dead: David Gest (Picture: Ian West/PA Wire)

The funeral of David Gest is set to take place this afternoon at Golders Green crematorium, according to reports.

Thu, 15:57
The case will be heard at the Court of Appeal

A man convicted of murdering a reclusive author in his Hampstead home will have his case heard at the Court of Appeal because of alleged police failings.

Thu, 15:08
Protest against Cycle Superhighway Regent's Park in March. Photo by Adam Tiernan Thomas

Campaigners against the proposed Cycle Superhighway 11 in Camden have welcomed a move by neighbouring Wesminster Council to oppose the scheme.

Thu, 14:43
Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner from the Movement for Reform Judaism has said she doesn't think MP Naz Shah is anti-Semtiic

Rabbi Laura Janner Klausner welcomed Naz Shah into her home last week for an interfaith feast for Passover - and this morning said that she would like to take the suspended Labour MP to Israel.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Yummy traditional afternoon teas for two

MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Traditional Afternoon Teas for two at a location of your choice! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe