Much-loved son had ‘turned life around’ before tragic drugs death, inquest hears

Nicholas Davey, 33, known as Nick, tragically died on March 4
Nicholas Davey, 33, known as Nick, tragically died on March 4

A mum whose ‘much-loved’ son died after taking a lethal cocktail of drugs said he had turned his life around before his death, an inquest heard.

Nicholas Davey, 33, known as Nick, tragically died on March 4, after taking crack cocaine and heroin at his friend’s flat in Brighton.

Speaking after the inquest at Brighton Coroner’s Court on Monday, mum Lorraine Davey, 51, said: “He was just a very well-loved person, he isn’t just another one, he is not a number, and it is devastating to the whole family.

“He was doing extremely well and had turned his life around. He was living back with us in Huntingdon and he was on the list to become a key worker to help people.

“I lost my other son too – my two boys have gone. His friends were really proud of him and he was extremely proud of himself too.

“He wanted a better life and he wanted to help people, and he encouraged and inspired many.

“It is so hard when you have adult children, all you can do is advise them.”

The inquest heard how Mr Davey had been living at different places in Brighton before being emergency housed in Eastbourne.

His family said he was known as the ‘flower boy’ who used to draw flowers on pavements.

He was receiving treatment for drugs at the Pavilions in Brighton, but contact with his care co-ordinator had reduced and he was subsequently discharged in July last year.

His family lost contact with him when he went missing between 2007 and 2008, which was ‘very out of character’, the inquest heard. He was found under the pier in Brighton.

For a while he would come home and leave again, his mum said.

He was in a wheelchair after having his right leg amputated and had regularly complained of phantom pain and was on strong painkillers.

Up until his death Mr Davey had not taken any drugs and had moved back with his family in Huntingdon and was looking to set up a charity to help other amputees, the inquest heard.

But he returned to Brighton on March 3, to attend a dental appointment as he was still receiving treatment there and made the decision to take drugs at his friend’s flat in Phoenix Rise, the inquest heard.

His mum Lorraine said in the inquest that in his mind it was his ‘last visit to Brighton’ and added: “It was one last hit before he came home.”

Despite efforts from the emergency services, Mr Davey passed away at the Royal Sussex County Hospital.

His death was recorded as amitriptyline morphine toxicity, the inquest heard.

Deputy coroner Catherine Palmer ruled his death as misadventure.

She said: “Nick had his ups and downs with drug use in his time in Brighton and move to Eastbourne.

“He had returned home and was looking really well, but it was this dental appointment that led to his death.

“He had physical health problems because of his leg amputation and he suffered from phantom pain.

“It was one last hit for him, and of course these things have a devastating impact.

“He knew he was taking the drugs but he did not expect to die – naivety is the one factor in all this. He had not taken drugs for a long time.

“He was a much-loved son and I do hope you get some comfort knowing he did not suffer and would not have known what was happening as he went unconscious very quickly.”

DS Graham Mepham said drug tolerance was the ultimate cause of Mr Davey’s death and because he had not taken drugs for a long period of time before the incident, his tolerance had reduced.

He added: “These drugs could be mixed up with so many different commodities, we just don’t know what they are putting in them. It is a lottery – you don’t know what you are taking.”