‘Unlawful killing’ claim rejected over Hyndburn father's death

First published in Church Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A FATHER-of-two died after taking amphetamines amid claims he was forced to take the drugs, an inquest heard.

Alan James Heaney, 36, was found dead at a house in Grimshaw Street, Church, on Tuesday, October 18.

The inquest, at Blackburn Coroner’s Court, was told Mr Heaney was known to police as a regular drug user.

But members of his family told the inquest he was not a regular drug user.

Following Mr Heaney’s death, they said people who knew him had told them the drugs had been contaminated with rat poison, or paracetamol, and that they were meant for another person who had allegedly ‘grassed’ on two drug dealers.

In addition, they told the inquest that he collapsed on Sunday, October 16 after a bout of sickness, but an ambulance was not called until two days later.

And they claimed Mr Heaney’s body was moved by someone other than police, or paramedics, shortly after the discovery was made.

Dr Richard Prescott, consultant pathologist at Royal Blackburn Hospital, who carried out the post-mortem examination, told the hearing Mr Heaney had 0.24 micrograms of amphetamine per millilitre of blood in his system, as well as a small amount of the solvent, Toluene.

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Giving the cause of death as amphetamine toxicity, Dr Prescott told the hearing there was no evidence that Mr Heaney was a drug addict, or that he injected amphetamines.

He added that there were no marks, or wounds, on his body to support the claim that he had been forced to take the drugs.

Recording a verdict of misadventure, Coroner Michael Singleton dismissed Mr Heaney’s family’s claims.

He said: “I am satisfied that on October 18, Alan Heaney was found deceased at 27 Grimshaw Street, having ingested amphetamine.

"The circumstances in which he ingested the amphetamine are unknown.

“It has been asserted to me that Alan Heaney was unlawfully killed.

“I have not, from the evidence before me, heard anything to suggest that is the case and I reject that assertion.

“On the balance of probability, Alan Heaney, in taking amphetamine, did not intend that it would have any toxic effect on him.

“Therefore, on the balance of probability, the conclusion I have reached is one of misadventure.”

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