A STUDENT was found dead in his flat after taking drugs including heroin, an inquest heard.

Matthew Pickles, 19, was found dead at the student accommodation block on October 16, although he could have died up to two days earlier.

Winchester Coroner’s Court heard the IT and cyber security student, originally from Scarborough in Yorkshire, had a history of drug use and overdoses before moving to the city.

The inquest was told how after hospital admissions, Mr Pickles, who was living at Cathedral Point student block in Andover Road prior to his death, had refused advice on stopping his drug use.

A report from Catherine Sands, a mental health NHS worker in Scarborough, said Mr Pickles “claims he is comfortable with taking drugs”. She added: “He was offered a number of possible avenues, however, Matthew declined any follow-up.”

Consultant pathologist Dr Adnan Al-Badri said toxicology results showed evidence of heroin in his system, as well as Xanax, which is used to treat anxiety disorders.

Dr Al-Badri said the combination of the two proved fatal, but added there was also evidence of painkillers and cannabis use. He also found old scars on Mr Pickles’ arms which he believed were self-harm injuries.

However, Mr Pickles’ mother Victoria said he had been looking forward to going to university and had told her he was happy. She added: “His whole outlook on life changed... before he had been struggling and had been depressed.”

The inquest also heard statements from some of Mr Pickles’ university friends, who described him as “very funny” and “such a nice person”.

Mr Pickles was last seen alive on afternoon of October 14, before being found dead on his bed two days later.

Recording a conclusion of drug-related death, senior coroner Grahame Short said he could not find evidence that Mr Pickles had deliberately taken an overdose, with no note being found by police in his flat.

Describing the death as “a waste of a young life”, Mr Short said: “Matthew used illicit drugs on a regular basis before he went to university.

“It seems to me Matthew liked to experiment with drugs.

“There is a suggestion of low mood at times, confirmed by his mother, but no evidence of mental illness; although I cannot rule out the presence of depression.”

Mr Short could not say precisely when Mr Pickles died.