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Friday, 25 July 2014

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Utterly disgraceful: Cumbria coroner slams three who left man to die

Three people who dragged a man into a Workington street and left him to die have been branded “utterly disgraceful” by a coroner.

Related: Mum dragged friend out of house to die in street, inquest told

Sean Paul Reid-Thompson, 37, of Grasmere Avenue, Workington, died on November 25, 2011, following a heroin overdose, an inquest heard at West Cumbria Magistrates’ Court.

He had been taking the drug along with Douglas Foster at the Curwen Street home of a Workington mum Lisa Noble when they noticed something was badly wrong.

Noble and her son Anthony Duncan claimed that Foster threatened them when they wanted to call an ambulance.

They also claimed that he forced them to help dump Mr Reid-Thompson’s body on the street outside Noble’s home.

Corner David Roberts said he agreed with the comments of Judge Paul Batty QC who jailed Foster, Noble and Duncan last year for perverting the course of justice.

Foster was jailed for five years and Noble for 32 months. Duncan was sentenced in August to 15 months’ detention in a young offenders’ institution.

Mr Roberts said: “I can only echo Judge Batty by saying it was inhumane to drag a man in that state onto the street.

“It was clearly utterly disgraceful.”

The cause of death was given as alcohol and opiate toxicity.

The inquest heard that the high levels of alcohol and heroin in his body led to breathing problems after which he fell into a coma and died.

Mr Roberts recorded a verdict of misadventure.

On Tuesday, Duncan was due to give evidence at the inquest but refused to leave his cell in Workington.

However, a statement was read out yesterday from Marie Telford, of the youth offending team.

The inquest heard she had spoken to Duncan at his home three months after Mr Reid-Thompson died.

In the statement she said Duncan admitted to her while released on bail that he had been involved in the body dump but claimed he had only done so because Foster threatened him.

According to the statement Foster said he would get a friend to kill him if he didn’t comply.

On the day of Mr Reid-Thompson’s death, police were called out twice to his home on Grasmere Avenue where he was living with girlfriend Jill Routledge.

Miss Routledge told police that he had drunk three cans of Stella Artois lager and taken between £30 and £40 of her money, which she believed he would use to buy heroin. His body was then found on Curwen Street by passerby Angela Dunbabin at around 9.45pm.

Mr Reid-Thompson, whose last job was as a road worker, is survived by his daughter Sarah, brothers Gary, Andrew and Ryan and dad Glynn.

His family declined to comment after the inquest.

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