Former public schoolboy dies after drug overdose

A FORMER public schoolboy who was consumed by a crippling drug addiction died after suffering a heroin overdose, an inquest has heard.

Josh Warwick

A FORMER public schoolboy who was consumed by a crippling drug addiction died after suffering a heroin overdose, an inquest has heard.

Gareth Reade, an alumni of Orwell Park School in Nacton, was found dead at a house in Felixstowe on November 9 after sharing �50 of heroin with two friends.

Police and paramedics were called to Tomline Road shortly after 3pm where they found the 37-year-old fully clothed, lying on the floor with a cushion beneath his head.

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Despite desperate attempts to resuscitate Mr Reade, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

During yesterday's inquest at Ipswich police station, his family revealed how he had been addicted to heroin for several years after first smoking opium while travelling in India in the early 90s.

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On his return, Mr Reade's habit rapidly spiralled out of control, scuppering his plans to read international law at university in London.

Repeated attempts by his family to rescue him from the lifestyle into which he had descended failed, with the attraction of hard drugs too much to resist.

Mr Reade, who was described as highly intelligent, had been selling the Big Issue on the streets of Ipswich prior to his death.

Born in Hertfordshire, Mr Reade spent most of his life in Suffolk. Although he had no registered address, he had been living with a friend in Ipswich at the time of his death.

His mother, Paula Bethell, told the inquest she had seen him the day before he died, describing how he had been in good spirits. However, it was the last time she would see her son alive.

His death is the second tragedy to strike the family after older brother Darren was stabbed to death in Bristol around 15 years ago. He too had struggled with drug dependency.

Coroner Dr Peter Dean said a post mortem had found that morphine levels in Mr Reade's blood “were in the range associated with fatality”, while traces of alcohol were also discovered.

Dr Dean said that there was no suggestion of any suspicious circumstances surrounding the incident and said there was nothing to suggest the overdose had been a deliberate act.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Dr Dean added: “This was not a deliberate act.

“What happened was a tragic accidental overdose which emphasises the extreme dangers of drug use.”

Mr Reade leaves his parents and half-brother Diggory Warren, 32.

Speaking after the inquest, his mother Mrs Bethell, said: “We miss him terribly.”

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