A ‘cheeky, sarcastic, loveable rogue’, who had been suffering regular seizures, died after taking too many prescribed narcolepsy drugs.

An inquest at Accrington heard Dale Simon Fielding, 35, was found unresponsive in his bedroom in the house he shared with his gran in Calder Avenue, Billington, on December 20.

Dale, exhausted after suffering a significant seizure the day before, had been recovering in bed for most of the day, the coroner’s court was told.

His gran, Barbara Grimes, took him his dinner at around 5pm, but when she went up to collect his plates at around 8.30pm, she found her grandson was unconscious and called for an ambulance.

The inquest heard Dale’s mum, Tina Fielding, who lived just around the corner, was also called and CPR was commenced by one of the attending paramedics. Sadly, Dale was pronounced dead at 9.04pm.

Coroner Laura Nash said a medical cause of death had been given as epilepsy with amphetamine toxicity, after a post mortem examination revealed an excess amount of the drug in Dale’s blood stream.

Dale’s mum told the inquest: “Dale had narcolepsy from the age of about 13 or 14, and had epilepsy too but grew out of it when he was about 11. He hadn’t had a seizure since then, until the last couple of years.

“They started again at the end of May 2020, just as the Covid pandemic started.

“He didn’t have a GP but got medication from the hospital, and was first given them when he went there after his first fit that year, which was on May 29, 2020. He was having fits every month after that, but it was never just one, it was two or three or more.”

The inquest heard Dale sometimes didn’t take his medication, and on each hospital admission following a seizure, told doctors he had not taken them for around two days.

But Mrs Fielding said she didn’t think this was a deliberate act, as Dale would always take his medication with him if he went to stay with friends although sometimes some of the drugs would make him drowsy, forgetful and confused.

She added: “We had a conversation about his meds and he hated the fact he was having the seizures so he wanted to take the drugs, but sometimes he would forget. He was on six different medications, so it was a lot, and they did affect his memory.”

The inquest was told Dale also smoked cannabis, which the coroner said would likely have affected his long term cognitive behaviour if he had been smoking it for a lengthy period of time.

Mrs Fielding added: “We had known about his cannabis use for a couple of years but he could have been smoking for longer than that, we just don’t know. And his friends were adamant he wasn’t taking any other drugs, he wouldn’t touch them. But even on the meds, he was still having seizures.”

Dale had lived with his gran for six years, and had a pony called Lucy who he used to visit every day, which kept him busy during lockdown, or when his friends were at work, but a few months before he died he had to give his pony to a friend as his seizures and narcolepsy were making it difficult for him look after her properly.

He was not working due to being on disability benefits because of his conditions, had never officially been diagnosed with epilepsy, and was thought to be living with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder).

He was admitted to hospital on several occasions in 2021 after having seizures, and five weeks before his death he had a fit while out with friends in Manchester and ended up in trouble with the police.

His mother said: “His friends had phoned an ambulance which had taken him to hospital but because they weren’t family they couldn’t go with him, and weren’t allowed in because of Covid.

“The doctors were supposed to let Dale know, when he came round, that his friends would pick him up, but the message didn’t get passed on and he ended up being made to leave the hospital because they needed the beds.

“He was dazed and confused and in Manchester, not knowing where he was, and ended up on a train to Swansea, and then got into bother with the police as they thought he was train jumping and was put back on a train to Manchester. He was very confused and upset, and this was five weeks before he died.”

The inquest heard he had another major seizure the day before he died  

The coroner said she was satisfied the seizures had played a part in Dale’s death, however, the levels of amphetamine in his system could have led to toxicity and clearly contributed too.

She said: “He shouldn’t have had that high level in his blood stream, despite being on those medications. I don’t believe he went to seek out any illicit drugs, I think he’s probably taken too many of what he was prescribed, and this extra has resulted in an accidental overdose.

“I can only record a drug-related death conclusion here, because the drugs, even though prescribed, have clearly played a part in his death.”

Mrs Fielding said: “He was a character, very sarcastic, a loveable rogue. He was a lot of fun, and loved his music, and his pony Lucy. At least now, we have a bit of closure.”