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

Saturday, February 25, 2017

A teenager has been jailed for rape and attempted murder after stabbing a 15-year-old girl and forcing her to have sex with him in Hampstead Cemetery.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Murdered children’s author Helen Bailey lived for 20 years in Highgate before moving to Hertfordshire to be with the lover who turned out to be killer.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Police have released CCTV footage after a woman was sexually assaulted outside Golders Green station.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Police are appealing for information after four men were admitted to hospital after being slashed in an “unprovoked” knife attack after a night out in Muswell Hill.

Friday, February 24, 2017

A state school is making waves in sailing after being accepted to enter the Rolex Fastnet Offshore race in August.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Euston station has been closed because of overcrowding and disruption caused by Storm Doris.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Children dressed as Voldemort and characters from 1984 are planning to descend on East Finchley Library to stage a World Book Day protest against Barnet Council’s “ridiculous” and “dangerously unsafe” libraries policy.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Council tax in Camden is set to rise by an extra 1 per cent – on top of the previously planned 3.99pc increase.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now