Mystery over source of fatal morphine pills

mysTery surrounds the death of a Stanley man who was found dead at the home he shared with his parents after overdosing on high-strength morphine usually only prescribed to terminally ill cancer patients as they reach their final weeks of life.

Neighbours raised the alarm after Daniel Wild, 39, hadn’t been seen for three days after his parents left their Morley Lane home for a holiday in June last year.

Toxicology reports found that acute morphine poisoning led to the death of Daniel, who had a history of depression.

The tablets that caused his death are usually only prescribed to cancer patients at the end of their lives because of their strength – and police and his family remain baffled as to where Daniel got the fatal dosage from.

Louise Pinder, deputy coroner for Derbyshire, recorded a narrative verdict at an inquest into Daniel’s death.

The former medical student had first started to show signs of depression while studying medicine at Leeds University.

His dad, Phillip, told the court: “He had been on a placement on a ward looking after terminally ill children, he would struggle to cope when he would go back to the ward after a weekend to find out that a child or children had died.

“He was so bright and intelligent, he had no problems with the medical side, it was the emotional side of it he couldn’t deal with. He couldn’t help being affected by the suffering and death that doctors encounter.”

Despite this, his parents told Miss Pinder, that their son had been showing signs of improvement and had even started looking into starting university again to study archaeology.

The family were also planning a trip to Italy, something that Daniel was looking forward to and had discussed with neighbours.

His dad said: “We weren’t concerned in the slightest about going on holiday and leaving Daniel, in fact we were much the opposite.

“In recent times he appeared to be so much better and he was brighter and so much more cheerful.

“Before we left we went up to his room and said goodbye, he told us to have a great time. That’s why we were so amazed when we heard.

“I feel that he didn’t even leave his room after we left. We’ve thought long and hard about what might have happened and I can only think that because of his short term memory problems Daniel took one tablet and then more without realising the amount he had already had.”

Miss Pinder said although there was no evidence to suggest that Daniel had taken his own life intentionally she could not rule it out and recorded a narrative verdict.

Addressing Mr and Mrs Wild, she said: “I am persuaded to agree with you that the evidence points to the fact that Daniel said goodbye to you that morning and, as there’s no sign of him afterwards and being the creature of habit he was, I think you’re right when you say this happened that first day you went on holiday.

“He had a history of depression but it clearly seems to me that he was not at risk of suicide or self harm and that his medication was doing its job so much that it had been reduced recently.

“He had taken an overdose of morphine, we know that from the reports and pack found in his room, but investigations have not revealed how that came into his possession and it does not tell us whether this act was accidental or intentional.”