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King's Lynn man died after drug overdose, inquest told

By Lynn News Reporter

King's Lynn court crest (5995138)
King's Lynn court crest (5995138)

An inquest has heard how the wife of a Lynn man found him dead in his flat following a heroin overdose.

Lee Exall, 43, had a history of drug and alcohol abuse and some self-harming but had not expressed thoughts of taking his own life immediately prior to his death on May 7 this year.

The resumed inquest at Lynn Coroner's Court on Friday heard that Mr Exall was troubled over having to live apart from wife Victoria and their children since early 2017.

That was due to an ongoing investigation following a complaint by one of Mrs Exall's daughters from a previous relationship. That stemmed from Mr Exall having an argument with the daughter over her behaviour towards her mother.

In evidence read to the court, Mrs Exall said that her husband moved into his own flat in December 2017 because Social Services refused to allow him to return to the marital home.

She added: "He was devastated by this decision but we remained together and would see each other every day. He started drinking heavily."

She said he had tried to take his own life earlier this year and rang her to tell her so.

He then had a brief stay in Lynn's Fermoy unit, during which he rang his wife to say he wanted to self-harm using keys that were with him.

Mrs Exall received some texts from her husband on May 3 which suggested he was "really depressed". He also mentioned bad stomach pains.

On May 6 the couple enjoyed a family trip to Planet Zoom and Mr Exall appeared tired but fine. They spoke on the phone later and arranged to meet the following morning.

However, all of Mrs Exall's subsequent calls and texts went unanswered and at around midday the following day she went to his flat at Millfleet Court in Stonegate Street and found his body next to drug paraphernalia.

The cause of death was morphine toxicity due to intravenous injection of heroin.

Assistant coroner Johanna Thompson said: "There did not seem to be anything unusual about Lee in the days leading up to his death. As there is no evidence with regard to what was on Lee's mind at the precise time, the only conclusion I can make in these circumstances is that his death was one which was drug-related."

The inquest also heard that a review of Mr Exall's care by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust found that while no part of his mental health care might be linked to his death, two "areas of concern" were raised.

Subsequently it was recommended that there ought to be joint working between the Trust and the drug and alcohol service provider CGL (a monthly meeting has since been instigated) and an admissions checklist should be completed for inpatients.

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