A TROUBLED man who died while sleeping rough outside a city centre shop had accidentally consumed a lethal concoction of prescription drugs and alcohol, an inquest has ruled. 

Timothy Holdham, 53, of no fixed abode, was found to have had more than two and a half times the legal drink drive limit of alcohol and four different medications in his system when examined at post mortem.

On the morning of April 2, 2021 police were called to the corner of Middle Brook Street and Silver Hill after he was discovered in a lifeless state by an employee of Bespoke Biking.

Hampshire Chronicle: Middle Brook Street and Silver Hill

A statement from the employee, which was read out by the coroner, said he had spotted Mr Holdham covered by blankets and a sleeping bag with another person lying next to him while on his way into work. He said he had assumed the pair were sleeping.

Later that morning, he had noticed the other rough sleeper had moved on, but Mr Holdham remained in exactly the same position.

After approaching Mr Holdham, the employee found him to be unresponsive and ‘cold to the touch’. Police confirmed his death on arrival and searched his body, discovering two half-drunk bottles of Lambrini and Lucozade alongside blister packs of various medications.

The inquest was told how Mr Holdham slipped into a depressive state in 2017 after his partner – who was pregnant with their unborn child at the time – died shortly after his release from prison.

He had struggled with heroin and crack cocaine addiction in the immediate fallout and at the height of his alcoholism was drinking at least three litres of wine a day, in addition to a bottle of Jack Daniels if he could afford it.

A report from St Clements surgery, his registered GP practice, revealed he had made multiple attempts to take his own life and had been rushed to A&E seven times due to drug and alcohol misuse.

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Mr Holdham had further complaints of long-term pain in his leg and back which were compounded by sleeping rough. He was offered numerous places to live by social services and did spend some time in accommodation, but opted to return to the streets due to feelings of claustrophobia.

The inquest heard he also had a record of missing appointments with several support organisations which had attempted to help with his mental health, substance abuse and various other safeguarding concerns.

Despite largely refusing to engage with the local authorities, Mr Holdham was on a course of regular prescribed medication for his physical, mental and addiction issues, including methadone - which he was taking to wean off heroin. He was prescribed the medication every week to stop him from misusing or selling the tablets.

However, the coroner heard that the evidence established between April 1 and 2 he had taken his prescribed medication alongside additional, over the counter anti-histamines – all of which were depressants known to slow down lung and heart function.

Coupled with the alcohol, a report from the post mortem found Mr Holdham had died of respiratory depression in his sleep, most likely in the early hours of April 2.

The coroner, Chris Wilkinson, ruled the death to be accidental and said there was no suggestion he had intended to take his own life, rather that he misjudged the affect all the drugs would have when taken together with a large quantity of alcohol.

Mr Wilkinson said: “This is a desperately sad case in which Mr Holdham had some success of breaking free of street drug use, but not of street life, which ultimately exacerbated his problems and undoubtedly contributed in some way to his death.” 

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