Heroin claims life of first time user

PUBLISHED: 18:47 09 December 2008 | UPDATED: 22:44 15 June 2010

A SEATON man died after what could have been his first use of heroin, an inquest has heard.

A SEATON man died after what could have been his first use of heroin, an inquest has heard. Andrew Mervyn Hutchings, 29, overdosed on heroin - exacerbated by alcohol - because he was intolerant to the drug.Mr Hutchings, who lived in Somersby Close, was found by his wife, Anna Marie, on December 2 last year.Statements said Mr Hutchings, described as obsese, had suffered paranoid thoughts, brought on by use of illicit drugs, but that he had no history of long-term heroin use.Evidence by pathologist Dr Simpson stated: "The affects were more severe because he had no history of tolerance and a contributing factor was a high level of alcohol."The inquest, held at Honiton, heard that Mr and Mrs Hutchings, who have two young children, had tried 'street heroin' [an impure drug] for the first time together.Mrs Hutchings stated: "I trusted he wouldn't let me take it if he thought it would harm me." She described how the drug made her sleepy and, despite concern that her husband was unwell, she fell asleep.At 5.30am she called an ambulance when she woke to find he was not moving and his lips were blue.In her statement she said: "I thought he would be alright. "I can't believe it - I was shocked by what happened. Opium was the only drug I saw him take. He didn't disclose any other."A police officer who attended the scene said there were no signs of drug paraphernalia or of any alcohol.Mr Hutchings' brother, Martyn, told the Herald Andrew was not a heroin user and condemned drug dealers. He said: "Andrew hated drugs, especially stuff like heroin. "The person who sold him the drugs unnecessarily and knowingly put his life at risk."Martyn said he could only imagine it was 'spur of the moment' that Andrew took the drugs - due to the stress or excitement of having moved into his new house only two days earlier.Anna Marie was too upset to speak, but father, Mervyn, said the couple had previously been living in a hostel and were desperate to move - even though they had reservations.He said: "He just wanted what was best for his children, and now he's left them behind. "Anna Marie is trying to move on, but she can't. She's been through it all. And the drug dealer gets away with it."Friend Bill Edge said Andrew would be sadly missed. He told the Herald: "Andrew was not a smackhead, it's just a tragedy. "He knew a lot of people; you could ring him up day and night and he'd be there for you. He was really fun and a good father. He's broken a lot of hearts."Exeter and Greater Devon deputy coroner Darren Salter recorded a verdict of death by drug abuse at Honiton Magistrates' Court on Friday, December 5. He said: "I would like to pass on my sympathies for what is obviously a very sad outcome.

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