Accidental overdose claims life of young father-of-two

PUBLISHED: 11:37 06 February 2008 | UPDATED: 21:15 26 October 2009

A YOUNG father-of-two died after taking an accidental overdose of painkillers and two lines of coke, an inquest heard. Gareth Jones from Welwyn had been prescribed the painkillers Tramadol four days before he died to treat back pains. But wife Kerry expre

A YOUNG father-of-two died after taking an accidental overdose of painkillers and two lines of coke, an inquest heard.

Gareth Jones from Welwyn had been prescribed the painkillers Tramadol four days before he died to treat back pains.

But wife Kerry expressed concerns at Hatfield Coroner's Court that the 25-year-old drain technician sometimes had difficulty reading the dosage because he was dyslexic.

She said he also had a coke habit, but had been working hard to stay clean during March 2007.

On the night before he died, March 29, he seemed very tired.

"That wasn't him when he has been on coke before," she said.

"We both went to bed and watched his favourite TV programme - Top Gear.

"I woke up just before two in the morning with him nudging me and he was having a seizure."

She called an ambulance to Node Way Gardens but he died at 3am in the QE2 hospital on March 30.

An associate later told her that Gareth had taken two lines of coke that night.

She added: "You can imagine what I told that person.

"They were a close friend of Gareth's and saw him struggle through that month yet still stood by and put cocaine in front of him."

However, tests also revealed levels of Tramadol in his blood 24 times higher than they should have been.

Forensic scientist Helen Steer said this alone was significantly high enough to have caused death, without the cocaine, but the Class A drug would have made it worse.

It caused his heart to fail.

Coroner Edward Thomas said: "I just hope that people will take note of what happened here.

"A lot of people take coke, but it's dangerous because you can't control it and you don't know the quality of it."

He added: "It is also very important that one always follows the prescription."

He recorded a verdict of accidental death due to a drugs overdose and cocaine abuse.

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