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Death of Feltwell man was drug-related, inquest hears

A Feltwell man's death was drug-related, an inquest has heard.

Peter Rush, 39, who had Crohn's disease and suffered from chronic pain, was found "slumped over" at his home address by his mother Marion Rush on the morning of October 31 last year.

The inquest, held in Norwich this morning, was told that Mrs Rush and her other son Jonathan Rush attempted to revive him and called an ambulance but he was later declared deceased.

Inquest report (23323495)
Inquest report (23323495)

Mrs Rush said, in a statement read to the court, that Peter Rush had moved back in with his mother in Feltwell two years prior to his death.

She said her son had been diagnosed with Crohn's disease a number of years previously, and had suffered with pain since the age of 23.

He was prescribed morphine for the pain, and was on a number of other medications, including for depression.

"Peter was still in a lot of pain," she said. "He just wanted his pain to go away."

Although he had a bedroom upstairs, in recent months he had been sleeping downstairs as he found it more comfortable to sleep in a chair.

The evening prior to his death, Mr Rush "was not acting out of character, just in pain", Mrs Rush said.

On the morning of October 31, she said she had knocked on the living room door to say goodbye before going to work, but there was no response.

She then found him "slumped over" with his head in his hands.

Mrs Rush called Jonathan Rush down and he could not find a pulse, so they called an ambulance but after paramedics arrived, he was declared dead.

The court was told that police found a packet of brown powder next to Mr Rush which was seized.

It was later found that Mr Rush had an illicit drug, ocfentanil, which is 2.5 times as potent as fentanyl, in his system.

Police said they believed this to be the brown powder found in the packet.

They had been looking to trace the source of the drug, but the substance is considered "so potent" that finger print labs are unable to receive it.

A police spokesman said, in a statement read to the court, that as Mr Rush had studied computer science at university, it is likely he "would have had knowledge of the deep web" to order it.

He added that there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.

Health professionals said that Mr Rush's mental health appeared to be stable, and there was no evidence of self-harm or suicidal ideation prior to his death.

The court heard that there had been recent attempts to reduce Mr Rush's dose of morphine to "try and wean him off the dependence of the drug".

Pathologist Hesham ElDaly said Mr Rush's "most likely cause of death" is respiratory depression, secondary to a combination of illicit opioid ocfentanil and other drugs.

Area coroner for Norfolk Yvonne Blake said: "There's no evidence he intended to harm himself whatsoever."

Ms Blake gave short form conclusion that Mr Rush's death was drug-related.

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