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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

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Carlisle dad died after drink-drugs cocktail, inquest told

A fit and healthy young dad was found dead after taking a cocktail of drugs and alcohol.

Gym fanatic Gary Staveley, 30, had drunk 10 bottles of beer and had cocaine and “street” diazepam in his system before he died, an inquest heard.

Mr Staveley, who lived with his mum in Marina Crescent, Currock, Carlisle, had been looking after his nine-year-old son on January 11.

He went to the shop to buy some beers that evening but never came home.

The inquest was told that while he was at the shop he bumped into an old pal, James Burgess.

Mr Burgess invited Mr Staveley back to his home in Sewell Road where he was having an “impromptu” party with some other friends.

The pair went back and Mr Staveley drank all 10 bottles of Budweiser he had bought earlier, the hearing heard.

Giving evidence, Mr Burgess said he had not seen Mr Staveley take any drugs apart from some cannabis.

Later that night, after everyone else had left, Mr Staveley and Mr Burgess fell asleep in the living room.

When Mr Burgess woke up at about 1pm the following day he could see “something wasn’t right” with Mr Staveley.

Mr Burgess described how he was slumped back in his chair with his head back and mouth open, not breathing.

“Nothing prepares you for something like that,” he said.

In a state of “shock and panic”, Mr Burgess ran to a friend’s house who lived a few doors away for help.

They went back to the living room, phoned for an ambulance, and, on advice from the call operator, put Mr Staveley on the floor and attempted CPR.

A paramedic arrived soon after and found there were no signs of life.

Police and crime scene investigators were also called to the scene to rule out any suspicious circumstances.

Mr Staveley’s mum, Yvonne Staveley, later handed police a container full of about 200 blue pills which she had found in his wardrobe, the inquest heard.

She told how he had been down after recently losing his job in a sandwich shop.

She also said he would go to the gym nearly every day, eat well, and take over-the-counter health supplements.

He had also been worried after finding blood in his urine but was given the all-clear after medical tests.

Mrs Staveley said her son was not a big drinker and described him as a “smashing lad”.

She added: “He was very helpful and would do anything for anyone.

“He was good natured and placid and not a fighter – he got into trouble like boys do but he was a good person.”

She said he had a “great” relationship with his son and remained friends with the boy’s mother.

A post mortem revealed Mr Staveley had taken cocaine and alcohol, as well as diazepam, and temazepam – a street version of diazepam.

In recording a conclusion of accidental death, north and west Cumbria coroner David Roberts said there wasn’t enough of any substance to be fatal.

But he added that their combined effects would have meant Mr Staveley’s body was unable to respond to his stomach regurgitating its contents after he fell asleep.

Instead of choking, the acidic liquid travelled up his throat and into his lungs, which caused him to die, Mr Roberts concluded.

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