Richard Ellis of Kendal’s death was drug-related – inquest

A FORMER electrician and keen musician from Kendal turned to drugs after receiving the result of a paternity test, an inquest heard.

Richard John Ellis, 48, was found unresponsive by his father Alan, who called emergency services to the home which they shared on Dale Avenue in Kendal at around noon on December 23, 2021.

Assistant Coroner from Cumbria Dr Nicholas Shaw heard officers from Cumbria Constabulary attended the house shortly after taking the call, and on climbing the ladder to Mr Ellis’ attic bedroom found him surrounded by “several uncapped syringes, some containing a brown substance”, and “paraphernalia that suggested recreational drug use”.

Paramedics arrived shortly after and confirmed Mr Ellis’ death at 12.43pm.

A statement by Carol Ellis, Mr Ellis’ mother, described Mr Ellis’ childhood, how he performed well academically at Stramongate Primary and Queen Katherine schools, being fascinated with electronics and music.

The hearing heard he worked as a qualified electrician and played drums in a local band.

But Mrs Ellis said when her son was in his 20s he entered a relationship with a woman who subsequently had a child and upon later finding out through a paternity test he was not the father of the child, he found it “hard to take” and began taking drugs.

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Both Mrs Ellis and Mr Ellis’ General Practitioner Dr Heather Walker confirmed he had reported no drug use for long periods but had enrolled in an addiction treatment programme in 2002.

Mr Ellis had also suffered a collapsed lung in his late 20s and had chronic problems with his breathing from which he “never fully recovered”, as well as neuropathic pain from previous drug-taking, and a long-term knee injury from falling off a pushbike, which would prevent him from working as an electrician, and lead him to suffer from depression, the inquest heard.

Dr Walker confirmed Mr Ellis was prescribed medication for his pain and depression but “never over-requested” or abused his medication.

Mrs Ellis said her son spent “a lot of time at home”, indulged his passions for astronomy, electrics, and music, and “immersed himself in books”.

A toxicology report showed levels of opiates that could potentially be fatal and the postmortem found no internal injuries, concluding that the cause of death was multiple drug toxicity including opiates.

Dr Shaw found Mr Ellis’ death to be drug-related, and said: “He was clearly an intelligent man with a wide range of academic interests, but physically limited following his accident, and clearly having had a relationship with heroin over many years.”

The Westmorland Gazette | News