‘Full of promise’ son tragically died on sofa after becoming hooked on heroin at 17 – Hull Live

A loved son who started taking heroin as a teenager was tragically found dead on his sofa.

Richard Webster, 49, was “bright and showed so much promise” as a child, but began to take drugs from the age of 15, becoming hooked on heroin at 17 and serving time in prison.

He died at home in Boulevard off Hessle Road on June 7, 2019 and at the time was trying to get clean on a methadone programme.

A public inquest held at Hull Coroner’s Court heard that Mr Webster had a 33-year history of drug use and first started smoking cannabis at 15-years-old and borrowed money to fund his addiction.

His mum told the court that Mr Webster stole items from the family home at 16 to fund his addiction.

Inquests are continuing to take place without members of the public, including the media, present.

As the media usually attend inquests, Hull Live has been provided with recordings and transcripts of such hearings to continue reporting on them as usual.

Hull Coroner's Court
Hull Coroner’s Court (Image: Rob Stebbing)

Mr Webster’s mum tried to frighten him by reporting him to the police and he ended up going in to care.

The family relationship broke down for a number of years until 2011 when he visited his sister as she was unwell.

He was on methadone at that stage and was in a good place, but his addiction returned and in 2015 his mum had to have him removed from the house.

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Mr Webster’s mum said no matter what he had done, her love for him was “unconditional”.

Evidence was given by Mr Webster’s GP that, in 2017, he had reported 33-year addiction but said that he had an eight year abstinence.

A report was submitted by the organisation Change, Grow, Live, which recorded that Mr Webster was a self referral.

He admitted to using £40 heroin daily that he injected, as well as cannabis. On February 9, 2017, he started appointments and was given methadone and made a “significant reduction” in heroin use.

At time of death, was being seen monthly and being prescribed an alternative and was reducing his intake with a view to becoming clean and had been abstinent for six months, with only one lapse.

There were no concerns over suicide, but Mr Webster had anxiety and low mood.

He engaged well and at time of death was reported to be drug free, but had a chest infection and Hepatitis C.

A housing officer reported he had not been seen for a number of days or picked up methadone, so reported it to the police, who sadly found him dead on his sofa.

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There were open and empty cans of cider near his feet, with methadone also near to him.

Dr Justin Cooke carried out a postmortem and toxicology results showed a presence of multiple drugs including morphine, codeine, diazepam and methadone.

There was no single drug that caused Mr Webster’s death, but the combined effects of them together enhance their effects and it was found that Mr Webster had cirrhosis of the liver, which would have contributed to his death.

Assistant coroner Lorraine Harris gave a conclusion that his death was drug-related.

She said: “It seemed that Richard had a happy, normal childhood.

“When he was young he was bright and showed so much promise, but unfortunately he began to suffer in his mid teens from drug taking and addiction and that appeared to spiral.

“Unfortunately, Mr Webster became quite unwell with his addictions.

“That said, he did have times where he really did do very well with his abstinence”.

Source: https://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/news/hull-east-yorkshire-news/son-tragically-died-sofa-heroin-4369802