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Saturday, 01 November 2014

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Tributes to former Carlisle Utd youth player found dead on street

Tributes have been paid to a former Carlisle United youth player found dead in the street, after drink and drugs combined with heart disease to cause his death.

Richard Nugent, who was spotted by the club at the age of 10, was described by heartbroken family members as a “fantastic character” during an inquest into his death.

The body of Mr Nugent, 39, was found in Reeth Road, near Orton Road, Carlisle, on the morning of March 28 last year.

A post mortem examination found that a combination of factors – severe heart disease, a mix of alcohol and drugs in his system, the accumulation of fluid in his lungs and the breathing in of vomit – combined to cause his death.

A witness said Mr Nugent, who was living in Dowbeck Road, near Wigton Road, Carlisle, at the time of his death, had taken heroin in the hours before his body was found.

The inquest into his death resumed after an initial hearing was halted last year to trace a witness.

Mr Nugent’s sister, Sarah Nugent, said her brother had been spotted by Carlisle United when he was a schoolboy.

He played regularly in the club’s youth team, the inquest was told, but later left the club and worked in various jobs, including in factories and as a window cleaner.

She said the family “all loved him” and he was described as a “sociable person” who liked “a drink and a good time”.

The inquest heard from other family members that he had dabbled with drugs but they said he was not a heroin addict.

Robert Chapman, the assistant coroner for north and west Cumbria, also said there was “nothing in the evidence to indicate” he was a heroin addict.

Mr Nugent’s sister cast doubt on evidence from other witnesses, including statements saying a few hours after meeting one of the family he had been drunk.

She said he had no convictions for heroin and was not found with heroin. “Richard was very much loved,” said Miss Nugent. “He’s left a huge hole in our lives.”

Andrew Humphrey, of Whernside, Morton West, said that Mr Nugent would sometimes take drugs at his house.

He came round in the early hours of the day of his death. Mr Humphrey said he could tell he had “taken something” and described him as being stoned.

He said Mr Nugent told him he had been drinking and said “he had been to score some gear”. He also had tablets with him.

Mr Humphrey said Mr Nugent prepared an injection of heroin and injected himself, later taking a second injection. He said Mr Nugent left at about 1.45am.

A toxicology report found misuse of heroin, amphetamine and other drugs. Mr Chapman said there was “no evidence to indicate any third party involvement”.

He said Mr Nugent’s heart disease lowered his resistance.

Mr Chapman recorded a verdict of misadventure.

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