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Drug addicted Belsize Park man died at friend’s house after taking fatal dose

PUBLISHED: 09:51 31 May 2013 | UPDATED: 16:24 31 May 2013

St Pancras Coroner's Court

St Pancras Coroner's Court

Archant

A Belsize Park man who took a deadly cocktail of drugs and died while staying at a friend’s house had refused all offers of help from his family to get clean.

Former Bristol University student Paul Craig, 32, was found dead by friend Jeremy Cheetham after he had stayed the night at his basement flat in Parkhill Road in March last year.

Mr Craig, who had a history of drug addiction and regularly used heroin and crack cocaine, as well as a number of other drugs, stayed the night after visiting his father in Cheshire, it was heard at the inquest into his death at St Pancras Coroner’s Court yesterday.

On the morning of March 11, Mr Cheetham found his friend lying on the floor but assumed he was asleep.

Mr Cheetham told the court: “Paul didn’t like sleeping on the sofa as he got too hot.

“I couldn’t see if he was breathing because it was dark and I hadn’t opened the blinds.

“He told me he’d had a few sleepless nights so I didn’t want to disturb him.”

Mr Cheetham left the flat and when he returned at around midday, Mr Craig was still lying on the floor. After opening the blinds, he felt that Mr Craig was cold and lifeless.

He found drug equipment including two needles and a book covered in aluminium and police also found a lighter and a spoon covered in brown residue, suggesting Mr Craig had been using heroin and other drugs.

After dropping out of Bristol University when his mother died, Mr Craig attended Brighton University after encouragement from his father Ian Craig.

His father believes that is where he came into contact with drugs for the first time.

Despite efforts from medical professionals, his father and his ex-girlfriend to stop him taking illegal substances, Mr Craig refused all offers of help for his addiction.

A toixcology report found evidence of heroin, diazepam, cannabis, cocaine and anphetamines in Mr Craig’s body but stated that he had died from using a fatal combination of heroin and diazepam.

Assistant deputy coroner, Dr William Dolman, ruled Mr Craig had died from mixed drug toxicity, or multiple drug use.

He said: “Paul Craig was a victim of using illicit drugs. Although attempts had been made to help him, he died from a dependency on drugs.”

Addressing Mr Craig’s father, Mr Dolman added: “I congratulate you on trying to help him with his drug problem. I hope you remember him in happier times.”


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