Family's tribute to 'great man' who died after taking a cocktail of drugs — (GetReading)

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By Natasha Adkins

A West Reading man was discovered dead by his parents after taking a cocktail of prescription and non-prescription drugs.   Dominic Wilkinson, 41, of Rowe Court, died on Sunday, September 15, last year.

An inquest in Newbury Town Hall on Wednesday, heard Mr Wilkinson had suffered a suspected fall in Castle Street at about 1.30am the day he died. Paramedics attended and said Mr Wilkinson admitted drinking but said he had not taken any drugs.

After an initial examination of his head for injuries – which was clear apart from a cut above his lip – Mr Wilkinson managed to get himself off the ground and said he did not want any further medical help.

As this was happening, Mr Wilkinson’s phone rang – his mother Angela was calling after seeing her son with the paramedics from a taxi.

She met them and took him to her house in Hugh Fraser Drive, Tilehurst, where he had to be carried to bed.

Mrs Wilkinson explained he deteriorated in the taxi but she thought it was the drink so put him to bed and checked on him in the night.

When she checked on her son at about 6am, he was dead.

Before being found collapsed in the street, Mr Wilkinson had spent the evening at the Salvation Army Hostel, in Willow Street, a few minutes’ walk from where he was found.

He had attended a pool competition as he was hoping to become a volunteer at the hostel.

An employee at the hostel, Samara Wedderburn, said in a statement, Mr Wilkinson interacted very well with the residents and appeared to be enjoying himself. After the tournament had finished, Mr Wilkinson spent time in the room of resident Charlie McGinley whose brother he had done drugs with in the past, the inquest heard.

Ms Wedderburn recorded Mr Wilkinson leaving the hostel at 1.30am and made a note that he was “clearly under the influence”.

Police spoke to Mr McGinley on the day of Mr Wilkinson’s death.

He told them his methadone prescription for Sunday, which he had collected on Saturday, was empty and that he thought Mr Wilkinson had drunk it.

Mr Wilkinson’s medical history showed problems in the past with drugs that had resulted in six overdoses by 2005. Mrs Wilkinson said her son had been clean since 2009.

Mr Wilkinson also had a long history of depression and had been prescribed antidepressants since 2000.

A toxicology report found alcohol, methadone, and Mr Wilkinson’s prescribed antidepressant, venlafaxine, in his blood.

In a statement, toxicologist Jane Eastwood said the level of methadone in the blood was within the range taken regularly as part of a prescribed programme. She added: “That concentration may be toxic to people with no tolerance to the drug.”

Berkshire coroner Peter Bedford recorded a narrative verdict.

He said: “Dominic Wilkinson died from a drug related death, namely the combined affect of prescribed venlafaxine and non prescribed methadone on a background of no tolerance to methadone.”

Speaking at the end of the inquest, Mrs Wilkinson said on behalf of her family: “He was loved by all his family, he was a great man and a great uncle, we will love him forever.”