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No links over East Lancashire heroin deaths
A NELSON man who died from a suspected batch of super-strength heroin was not linked to two other deaths on the same night, an inquest heard.
A major investigtion was launched by police after three men were found dead from drug overdoses in just one hour on the evening of February 26 last year.
The bodies of Zaheer Chaud-hry, 32, Robin Ferguson, 53 and Emlyn Hodgkinson, 36, were discovered at houses in Nelson, Burnley and Colne respectively.
Det Insp Jim Elston, who lead the investigation, told an inq-uest into Mr Chaudhry's death there a perceived ‘public health risk’ to drug users and a poss-ibility that the fatal overdoses were linked.
But he added that subsequent inquiries no definitive links were found between the drugs supplied to the three men and he concluded that the evidence pointed to the deaths being ‘coincidence’.
A verdict of accidental death was given for Mr Ferguson and Mr Hodgkinson's deaths at an inquest in August last year.
DI Elston told the court that 12 people were arrested on sus-picion of being involved in the supply of drugs and five of them were later jailed for ‘significant periods’. The court heard that Mr Chaudhry’s body was found at his home in Eagle Street, Bradley, Nelson, at around 12.15am.
A statement from his then next door neighbour Charlotte Holmes said she had met Mr Chaudhry in Nelson town cen-tre that afternoon and he had later bought heroin.
They had later been drinking at her home with Mr Chaud-hry’s partner, Linda Parkinson.
At around 9.15pm, Ms Park-inson had given him £40 and he said he was going out to get takeaway food.
He did not return and found around later by the two women, collapsed in the bedroom of his home.
A post-mortem examination found Mr Chaudhry had very high levels of morphine in his blood, which was given as his cause of death.
A needle mark was also found on his left forearm.
East Lancashire coroner Richard Taylor adjourned the inquest at the request of Mr Chaudhry’s family, who req-uested that attempts be made to trace witnesses who were thought to have moved away.
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