A father-of-four who was found dead in a Chester car park died due to drug and alcohol toxicity, an inquest heard.
Jamie Lovelock, 36, of New Brighton, Flintshire, was found by a passer-by in bushes at the Royal Mail overflow car park near Chester train station on July 3 last year.
His parents Caroline and Desmond Lovelock paid tribute to their son who was a ‘caring’ father and Thai boxing enthusiast.
They said: “The person described at the inquest was not Jamie. He enjoyed thai boxing and had boxed with Russ Williams. He had a lovely family and was a caring father to four children. However, when that all went wrong, he started down this path.
“We begged him to stop and sort his life out and spent many hours in tears with him discussing it, but we will now remember him for all the good times.
“We will never really know what went on before he died. The problem with Jamie’s case is he could never inject himself as he was scared of needles, so we know someone did this to him.
“We’re not trying to say someone tried to kill him but it was just a bridge too far. Nobody on earth will come forward to say they were with him at the time. It’s impossible.”
An inquest at Chester Magistrates’ Court on Monday (September 8) heard that post mortem examination tests showed traces of morphine in Mr Lovelock’s blood which had come from heroin and he was also found to have 242mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood – about the equivalent of three times the drink driving limit.
Mr Lovelock had a long history of alcohol and drug abuse and had been admitted to hospital on several occasions for overdosing and over the last 10 years he had also been visiting a psychologist.
In a statement made by consultant psychologist Dr Julian Race he said Mr Lovelock had told him he had been drinking up to nine litres of strong cider and two litres of lager a day as well as half a bottle of whisky on weekends.
The inquest heard that Mr Lovelock had also told Dr Race he was taking drugs which, at its peak, saw him injecting two to three bags of heroin a day.
However, the inquest also heard these figures were likely to have been ‘exaggerated’ by Mr Lovelock as the post mortem examination report showed no damage to his liver or kidneys.
The inquest heard from witness Mark Ward who found Mr Lovelock’s body while he was taking a shortcut through the car park to meet his partner at a supermarket in Hoole. He said he had noticed a foot or leg sticking out of bushes and had gone over to investigate.
He found Mr Lovelock unresponsive and then spent 10 minutes performing CPR on Mr Lovelock until paramedics arrived to take over. Despite their attempts, Mr Lovelock could not be resuscitated and efforts were stopped at 7.40pm, approximately 40 minutes after his body was discovered.
The inquest also heard from witness Taydene Watkins, whose flat overlooked the car park, and on the evening that Mr Lovelock’s body was found she noticed a white van which she thought was acting suspiciously. She later saw him being resuscitated and told police what she had seen earlier.
A previous inquest had been held last year but was adjourned so police could look into any possible suspicious circumstances surrounding the death after his mother revealed Mr Lovelock had received a death threat 10-14 days before he died and to review CCTV.
However, the inquest on Monday found there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding Mr Lovelock’s death.
Detective Sergeant James Wilson of Cheshire police said a review of CCTV images from a camera on Brook Street showed ‘nothing relating to the incident’ as the camera had been pointing in the opposite direction.
He said that drug paraphernalia was present in ‘close proximity’ to Mr Lovelock’s body including a syringe and a spoon and there were no signs that he had been attacked.
“Further enquiries after the last inquest were carried out by Cheshire police. However I am satisfied there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding Jamie’s death,” he said.
Senior coroner for Cheshire Nicholas Leslie Rheinberg ruled that Mr Lovelock had died of drug and alcohol toxicity.
He said: “Jamie had a long history of alcohol abuse and on occasions took drugs. We have heard of the frightening amounts of alcohol taken by Jamie. However, this may not be accurate as there was no evidence of scoliosis of the liver and such quantities would have resulted in damage.
“No evidence has emerged of what happened to Jamie until he was found at about seven o’clock. Prior to that Miss Watkins saw a van acting in a suspicious manner. She saw it driving around the car park and parking in different spaces and it seems to me entirely possible that the van driver saw Jamie lying where he was lying.
“It is speculation as to whether it had anything to do with the death but if he saw Jamie it was wicked not to call the emergency services. It was already too late when emergency services came.”
Verdict: Death due to drug and alcohol toxicity.