Inquest: Man dies from heroin overdose in Harrogate flat

The court heard how police had to force entry to Mr Ryan's home to try and gain a response.
The court heard how police had to force entry to Mr Ryan's home to try and gain a response.

A 37-year-old man who died of a drug overdose at his home in Harrogate, was trying to ‘come off’ his addiction to heroin, an inquest has heard.

Andrew Ryan of East Parade, Harrogate, had provided two negative test results for heroin the month before he died of an overdose on October 21 2016.

The inquest held at Harrogate Magistrates Court by Coroner, Mr Robert Turnbull, on Tuesday heard that Mr Ryan had invited a friend, who was named in court, back to his flat to take heroin together.

In a statement to police, the court heard how the friend of Mr Ryan had provided his own drugs and they both injected themselves individually.

In his statement, the friend explained he had gone to seek help after Mr Ryan’s lips turned blue.

He said: “He was conscious for around five minutes at which point he collapsed against his sofa.

“I felt for his heart and I could feel it, I waited with him but he didn’t come around.

“I tried waking him but he wouldn’t wake up and his lips were blue.”

Seeking assistance, the friend had walked to Asda Superstore and found PC Michael Haydock leaving the store.

PC Haydock told the court: “At about 8.10pm I went to Asda Superstore on Bower Road for a separate incident.

“Upon leaving the store I was walking to my vehicle when he approached me. I had never met him before. He asked me if I knew Andy, I didn’t know what he was talking about so I asked him to be specific and what he was trying to tell me. It was then he told me that his friend had quite possibly overdosed on heroin. I put him in my van and asked him to direct me to the address.”

The inquest heard that PC Haydock and PC Alan Berwick had to force entry to access the flat, where they performed CPR on Mr Ryan for “nearly 40 minutes”, before ambulance crews pronounced him dead at the scene.

A forensic toxicology report of Mr Ryan’s blood and urine, found concentrations of alcohol and heroin in ‘considerable’ and ‘fatal’ amounts.

Mr Turnbull concluded that Mr Ryan died of an overdose of heroin and alcohol.

He said: “It is always sad when a young person dies as a result of addiction. The circumstances are that he was a normal drug user and certainly he had made some efforts to come off heroin.

“We know there were negative tests when he visited Horizons in September, we know that inevitably that would reduce his tolerance to the drug.”