Tragic discovery for family of man who died in his Hartlepool home on Christmas Day

Hartlepool Civic Centre
Hartlepool Civic Centre

A man was tragically found dead in his home on Christmas Day after taking drugs, an inquest heard.

Paul Edward Costello, 43, was discovered by members of his family who had become concerned when he did not go to his mother’s house.

His mother Elizabeth Costello, 65, told the inquest at Hartlepool Civic Centre that he had seemed fine the previous day.

The hearing was told he had a past history of drug use and had also suffered from mental health problems.

About four weeks before his death, Mr Costello had been admitted to hospital after having fits, believed to have been caused by an overdose of diazepam tablets.

In a statement by Mrs Costello, which was read at the inquest, she said: “Paul was very normal to me on Christmas Eve.

“He came to my house about 10.30am and stayed all day.”
She added: “Paul started taking fits. He went into hospital in November and I don’t think he felt the same when he came out.

“He was taking drugs for a lot of years, but stopped taking them after his hospital stay.

“He suffered with mental health problems as well.”

Mr Costello was found unresponsive in his bedroom at his home in Hilda Walk, Hartlepool, the following morning.

The ambulance service attended and confirmed he had died.

A needle was found on the floor along with drug taking equipment and a bottle of vodka was on the bed.

A pathologist who carried out a post-mortem examination said the level of morphine in Mr Costello’s blood was that associated with fatality.

The source of the morphine was said to have been heroin, and its effects were likely to have been exacerbated by the alcohol and sedatives diazepam and alprazolam.

Claire Bailey, senior coroner for Teesside and Hartlepool, recorded a verdict that Mr Costello’s death was drug related.

She said to Mr Costello’s family present at the inquest: “Paul had a history of drug abuse and this is born out by the evidence you have kindly given me and also his GP.

“I have heard it was his lifestyle rather than any attempt to harm himself.”
She added: “I extend my very sincere condolences to you and the rest of the family.”