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Saturday, 20 December 2014

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Man found dead at his home after drug overdose

A MAN who died of a methadone overdose may have taken the drug in a desperate bid to relieve “crippling” pain brought on by drinking milkshakes, his brother says.

An inquest was held at Barrow Town Hall on Friday (16/03) into the death of Michael Walmsley, who was found dead at his home in Highfield Road, Barrow, on September 3.

A post mortem found Mr Walmsley, 47, had a high concentration of methadone in his blood.

His brother John Walmsley, 44, of Barrow, told the inquest his brother had been a heroin user in the mid-1990s, but had weaned himself off the drug using methadone.

He had not taken methadone for years and it was “shattering” to learn it had caused his death, he said.

Mr Walmsley said: “I couldn’t believe it. I felt physically sick when I heard it. I have no idea where he got it from.

“In later years in life he never really went out a lot. Previous to that he had a social life, but he was always a bit depressed. It was just part of his character.”

Mr Walmsley also suffered with severe stomach pains and texted his brother on the day of his death saying the pain in his stomach was “crippling”.

South and East Cumbria Coroner Mr Ian Smith said a person’s resistance to methadone decreased markedly in a matter of days.

A dose a methadone user could have survived one day could be fatal two days after they stopped taking it.

The coroner said: “We don’t know where Mr Walmsley got the methadone, but I have no doubt he got it somewhere and did take it and the only reason he would take it in those circumstances, when not prescribed it, would be to get some kind of kick. Sadly, he died as a consequence.”

He recorded methadone toxicity as the cause of death.

After the inquest Mr Walmsley’s brother told the Evening Mail he struggled to understand why he had taken the drug.

He said: “It was a moment of weakness. Maybe he was in pain because of his stomach problems.”

He believed his brother was lactose intolerant and his stomach pain was caused by constantly drinking milkshakes.

Mr Walmsley had been very creative and was a guitarist, bassist and singer in a number of bands in Barrow in the 1980s and 1990s, he said. He added: “He was just a good man.”

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