Nelson man’s drugs death

editorial image

East Lancashire’s Coroner has recorded the death of a Nelson man as one of “misadventure”.

Mr Richard Taylor said that the death of Mark Howarth (41), of Regent Street, Nelson, was the unexpected outcome of a deliberate action.

Mr Howarth was found dead at his home. A post-mortem found nothing untoward physically, but a toxicology test discovered morphine and diazepam in his system and the toxic mixture of these substances was found to be the medical cause of his death.

Burnley Coroners’ Court heard from Deborah Wright, Mr Howarth’s partner since 2006, who told the inquest he had been doing well and had encouraged him to stay off drugs.

Mr Howarth, who was described as a “good man” and a “nice guy” by family at the inquest, had been attending Inspire and was taking Subutex and had greatly reduced his drug intake over time, but the inquest heard that he had suffered a relapse after the death of his brother, however.

Mr Howarth had gone out on the Friday night to a friend’s house while Miss Wright was going to one of her friends to stay.

When Mr Howarth had not contacted his partner, Miss Wright became concerned and went round to Regent Street. He was found on the floor in the upstairs bedroom.

The inquest heard how Mr Howarth had not been prescribed diazepam and Miss Wright said she did not know he had the heroin.

Mr Taylor said his tolerance to the drug would have diminished with his use of Subutex and that for whatever reason, Mr Howarth had taken the opportunity to use heroin again while his partner was out.

He said the mixture of morphine and diazepam had proved fatal and there was no evidence he had meant to take his life.