Inquest adjourned after witnesses fail to appear

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AN inquest into the death of a Nelson man who died as a result of a heroin overdose last year has been adjourned after two important witnesses failed to attend.

East Lancashire Coroner Mr Richard Taylor agreed to the adjournment of the hearing into the death of Zaheer Chaudhry, of Eagle Street, after the dead man’s family said they had questions they wanted to ask the two witnesses.

Mr Chaudhry was found dead at his home on the night of February 26th, 2011.

The hearing was told it is thought one witness, Linda Parkinson, has since married and moved to Barnoldswick, while the other, Charlotte Holmes, is living in Blackpool.

Mr Chaudhry’s family believe that he did not inject himself with the fatal dose of heroin – the levels found in his blood in toxicology tests was 50% higher than that which normally causes death.

Pathologist Dr Zuhair Twaij said a post mortem examination had found a single needle injection mark in Mr Chaudhry’s left forearm. Tests showed there 306 grams of heroin in Mr Chaudhry’s blood – the usual fatal level is around 200 grams.

He said the cause of death was heroin toxicity.

Det. Insp. Jim Elston, who carried out an investigation into Mr Chaudhry’s death, said he had tried to speak to a number of witnesses but several had been unco-operative.

He said it would be very difficult to forcibly inject someone with a drug against their will and said there were no signs of trauma, injury or assault on Mr Chaudhry’s body.

Mr Chaudhry’s father, Shabbir, acknowledged his son had been a heroin user but said he did not usually inject the drug, preferring to smoke it. He said Linda Parkinson did not use drugs and had been a good friend to his son, keeping him drug free for three years, while Charlotte Holmes was a drug user.

Mr Taylor agreed to the adjournment to allow time for the two women to be traced and brought to a resumed hearing.