‘My son would be alive today if he was still in prison’ – Gloucester mum’s heartbreak — (Gloucester Citizen)

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Gloucester Citizen

By The Citizen

Posted: April 25, 2014

The family of Kevin Ward-Powell think he would be alive today if he were still in prison.   He came out of jail just three weeks before his fatal night.

A heavy drinking session and a concoction of prescription drugs led to the death of Kevin, an inquest heard yesterday.

Kevin, 27, died on November 20 after drinking white cider and taking prescription drugs at his flat in Hathaway Close, Podsmead.

He had fallen asleep at 6am but became unresponsive and was pronounced dead at 12.50pm.

Toxicology tests found that at the time of his death he had 190 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood, which is two-and-a-half times the drink-drive limit.

Coroner David Dooley said: “I am not a doctor but he could have been almost at the level that the drink alone would have killed him when he fell asleep six hours earlier.”

Subscription drugs were found in his blood and urine including two types of anti-depressants and Diazepam which controls feelings of anxiety, the inquest heard.

Low levels of cocaine and cannabis were also found in his urine.

Kevin, who had a history of mental health issues, was prescribed with anti-depressants but police were unable to find any at the scene, the inquest heard.

Mr Dooley said: “He either took them or swapped them with other people there. He had other prescription drugs in him that were not prescribed to him.

“We don’t know whether he was swapping pills with the people there.”

A GP’s report which was read out at the inquest said Kevin, inset, had been a smoker since the age of 12 and smoked up to 50 cigarettes a day.

Mr Dooley said: “Kevin was a young man with a lengthy history of alcohol abuse.

“He had also been a smoker for some 13 years. Smoking, at any level, is going to cause respiratory problems.

“It is all adding up here to chest problems caused by his lifestyle.

“He had indulged in a heavy drinking session in his flat.

“Toxicology tests confirm a cocktail of drugs, one of which was prescribed to him and others were not.

“It is, therefore, likely that he got the other anti-depressants and diazepam from a private source.

“Drugs found in his blood and urine were at high levels but were not fatally toxic, however in combination they could be.

“Here we have a drinking session with pills being taken at the same time which he didn’t anticipate would kill him.

“The alcohol level was potentially fatal and could have been borderline fatal when he went to sleep, even without the pills.

“The drugs have acted in combination and it has resulted in a toxic effect.

“I will be recording a conclusion of alcohol and drugs related death.”

Kevin’s mum Marion Marshall said the police should reinvestigate his death, but officers said they believe there are no criminal circumstances to be probed.

Kevin had been in and out of prison in recent years and most recently had served 15 months for fraud and false imprisonment.

“There is a slight feeling of closure after the inquest but I won’t be happy until I have answers for all my questions,” said Ms Marshall, 47, from Robinswood.

She added: “I wish he had stayed in prison because then this wouldn’t have happened.

“He was always up to no good and that’s why he was always inside, but at least when he was in prison he wasn’t drinking.

“He was happier in prison, I think he preferred to be in prison because he was out of trouble.

“I am very upset and bitter because there are still unanswered questions.”

Grandmother Betty Allan said she was struggling to come to terms with Kevin’s death.

“His death has left a big hole in our family’s lives and it has been very tough for the family to deal with,” she said.

“It is very difficult to come to terms with.

Kevin was very outgoing and was always very helpful. He had so many friends and was very well-known.

“He loved snooker and darts and was interested in cars.”

Ms Marshall added: “Even though he was always getting into mischief, we all love him very much and miss him every day.”

Police said they have no reason to launch a new investigation into Kevin’s death.

A spokesman said: “The death was deemed non-suspicious by investigating officers and there are no outstanding criminal inquiries in relation to the case.”

Kevin’s family are hoping to raise money for a plaque in his memory at Coney Hill Crematorium.