Banbury death was drug related

Oxford County Hall
Oxford County Hall

The death of a 35-year-old man who fell ill at a property in Banbury was ruled as drug related by a coroner during an inquest held at Oxford’s County Hall last week.

Last Thursday’s inquest heard how Mark Quartermaine, of Kemps Road, Twyford, was pronounced dead at Banbury’s Horton Hospital at 1.22pm on Tuesday, October 8, 2013 after falling ill at a friend’s home in town.

About 12.30pm the same day he had been sitting on the sofa at his friend’s place in Banbury’s South Street when he began convulsing and having problems breathing.

His friend called an ambulance and when it arrived paramedics concluded he had suffered a cardiac arrest and began CPR before taking him to the Horton, where he was pronounced dead.

A post mortem revealed the presence of opiates, including papaverine and codeine as well as paracetamol and ibuprofen. There was also a ‘very high morphine concentration’ usually associated with heroin fatalities. It concluded the cause of death was an opiate overdose.

The inquest heard how Mr Quartermaine had complained about throat and neck pain two days earlier and that he had attended a health centre the day before his death where he had been prescribed antibiotics for a throat infection. He had also bought overthe-counter painkillers after the appointment.

Mr Quartermaine had been heroin dependent since 2004 and had a methadone prescription since 2007.

The court heard how he had smoked heroin about an hour before falling ill.

Assistant coroner Nicholas Graham said: “My formal conclusion is that the death was drug related following an opiate overdose.”

In a statement read out at the inquest, Mr Quartermaine’s sister Anne-Marie Stacey said: “Mark’s death had a big impact on me as we were really close and I still miss him.”

She said it had been particularly difficult because their parents had died shortly after one another in 2009 and 2010.