Deadly drink and drugs concoction

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The family of an Ilkeston mechanic who died after mixing alcohol with methadone have said they are satisfied with a coroner’s verdict of accidental death.

Peter Tomkinson, 43, was found dead at his North Street flat on January 26 by his landlord after concerns were raised by a neighbour about his safety.

Deputy South Derbyshire Coroner Louise Pinder told the inquest Mr Tomkinson had drunk a lot of alcohol prior to his death which made the small amount of methadone he had taken ‘extremely toxic’ and led to his death.

She ruled out suicide.

Speaking after the Derby Inquest Mr Tomkinson’s sister, Vicky Tomkinson, said: “He will be sadly missed and we loved him very much.

“We are glad the verdict was accidental death - we always believed it was.”

Ilkeston police constable Adrian Hardwick told the court how Mr Tomkinson had not been seen since January 17 after being involved in a domestic incident involving his former girlfriend, Faye Benniston, and her new partner.

Police had removed Mr Tomkinson from Ms Benniston’s new partner’s address and taken him back to North Street after receiving reports of shouting and swearing.

PC Hardwick said while talking to Ms Benniston earlier that day Mr Tomkinson had threatened to kill himself unless she agreed to give the relationship another try.

It also emerged that Mr Tomkinson had been drinking very strong lager at home later that evening and told visiting friends he was upset after seeing his ex-girlfriend.

But Mr Tomkinson’s mother told the inquest how her son was always ‘a very happy-go-lucky, cheeky chappy.’

Said Mrs Tomkinson: “Never in this wide world would I think Peter would kill himself.

“He drank a lot but was against drug taking.”

PC Hardwick told the inquest how drug paraphernalia, including empty methadone bottles, had been found at Mr Tomkinson’s flat along with empty cans of lager.

“He was not on a methadone programme at all. The bottles had been detagged,” PC Hardwick added.

“The flat was searched for notes and diaries but there was nothing to support suicidal intention.”

A toxicology test showed that, as Mr Tomkinson was not a regular user of methadone, he had a low tolerance for the drug and the cause of death was acute poisoning with methadone and alcohol.

Ms Pinder said she could not say when exactly Mr Tomkinson had died but it was likely to have been closer to January 17.

As she recorded her verdict, the coroner added: “He did drink to alcohol to excess but there is no evidence it was a deliberate act.”