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Drug And Alcohol Abuse Cause Of Death

A FORMER painter and decorator who was a known drug and alcohol abuser died after collapsing in his flat. Philip Woodcock, from Biddulph, was being visited by a friend on August 8 last year when he lost consciousness and was rushed to the University Hospital of North Staffordshire. The 34-year-old, of High Street, was kept on ventilation overnight.

But an inquest heard that, when Mr Woodcock's condition did not improve, his family took the decision to turn off the life support. Father Geoffrey Woodcock told North Staffordshire Coroner's Court his son worked as a painter and decorator until about 2001, when his drinking prevented him carrying on. "The drinking had started in his teens, probably at about 15," said Mr Woodcock. "He was effectively kicked out of home in 2008. There had been various issues where the police had been called to the house and on the last occasion it was because he had assaulted me."

The deceased's friend Kevin Rowley said: "I knew he had done drugs and that they had caused him problems. "That day he was just asking me if I wanted to listen to the radio or a CD, that was the last thing he said to me. "He just keeled over. His lips went purple and he was dark under the eyes."

The court heard Mr Rowley had been at the scene of two similar deaths within the space of a year and police officers searched him at Mr Woodcock's flat but did not find any drugs. A small foil wrap containing white crystals was found in a bread bin at the flat. Toxicology tests showed Mr Woodcoak was three times over the legal drink drive limit and he had pneumonia in his lungs. Coroner Ian Smith recorded a verdict death by natural causes, exacerbated by drug and alcohol abuse.

He added: "Philip had a history of alcohol and drug abuse. I think he was already poorly when he collapsed. "The combined effects of the drugs alcohol and illness caused it."