Inquest held after man found dead in bath

Hartlepool Law Courts, incorporating Hartlepool Magistrates' Court.
Hartlepool Law Courts, incorporating Hartlepool Magistrates' Court.

A former drugs user died in the bath after taking an accidental overdose of heroin.

The body of John Hughes was found submerged in the bath by his father Kevin, an inquest at Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court heard.

Mr Hughes, 30, was living with his family in Osborne Road, Hartlepool, after being released from prison.

Kevin Hughes told the hearing his son had a long-standing drugs problem, but had rid himself of his addiction while in custody.

Summarising the police investigation, Hartlepool coroner Malcolm Donnelly said: “John was released from prison on March 16 and went to live his family.

“On March 23 he went upstairs for a bath, his family became concerned after he had been in the bathroom for some time.

“His father knocked on the bathroom door, and forced it after receiving no answer.

“He found his son submerged in the bath.

“There was a syringe floating in the water.

“That is an awful thing for any parent to find, and it is not something any coroner could take lightly.”

The inquest heard a police investigation found no suspicious circumstances.

A post mortem examination found Mr Hughes died from morphine toxicity.

The coroner said: “It is a known medical fact that a drug user’s tolerance to heroin reduces after a period of abstinence.

“There had been a long period of abstinence in this case.

“There is no suggestion John wanted to harm himself, he was doing something in a recreational way which gave him pleasure.

“He did not drown, he would have stopped breathing.

“His death would have been painless and without his knowledge, which may be of some small comfort to his family.

“Typically in these circumstances death happens in about three minutes.”

The inquest found the death of John Hughes was drugs related.