Recovering drug addict Tim Hancock died of an overdose at his girlfriend’s home — but there is still doubt as to whether it was an accident or suicide.
Wiltshire coroner David Ridley brought in a narrative verdict at the end of the inquest in Salisbury last Friday, after hearing the cause of death was an overdose of diazepam, also known as vallium, and methadone, used as a heroin substitute.
Mr Ridley heard Mr Hancock, 42, was found slumped in the bathroom of the flat in Flax Mill Park, Devizes, on the morning of March 7, 2011.
His girlfriend, Natalie Cole, had tried to give him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and then called for an ambulance but Mr Hancock could not be revived.
Mr Ridley referred to a statement by Mr Hancock’s mother, Susan O’Hagan, who said her son had sustained a serious head injury when he was three or four when he was knocked down by a car. It affected his personality and behaviour.
He had two sons with different mothers and his lack of access to them caused him to become depressed.
He started taking drugs, beginning with cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine and finally heroin. He had attempted suicide through overdose and by trying to hang himself.
Close friend Amanda Taylor told the inquest she had called at the flat the evening before he died. She said she rang the doorbell and saw Miss Cole in the window of the flat gesticulating she should wait two minutes.
She noticed Mr Hancock lying on the floor with his head tilted back, apparently unconscious.
Ms Taylor said that, after five minutes, Miss Cole came to the door and said: “I can’t let you in. Tim and I had a massive row and the flat’s in a mess.”
Miss Cole had told police that Mr Hancock had gone to the toilet, had fallen asleep and that she could hear him snoring so she thought she would leave him there.
The next morning she found him lifeless.
A toxicology report revealed Mr Hancock’s death was due to toxic levels of diazepam and methadone in his system.
Mr Ridley said, without any clear evidence that Mr Hancock meant to take his own life, he had to bring in a narrative verdict.