Inquest into local man’s tragic death

AN INQUEST into the tragic death of a former-drug user from Gainsborough was unable to find a certain cause of his death.

Sunday, 23rd October 2011, 10:30 am

Nigel Scrimshaw was found dead at his home at Otter’s Buildings, Trinity Street on 13th March.

An inquest at the Lincoln Cathedral Centre on Thursday 12th October heard that he was on methodone to overcome a heroin addiction but ‘tolerance was an issue’.

A police report from PC Simmons said he arrived at Mr Scrimshaw’s house at 8.25pm to find the front door of the property open and his body covered in a duvet after members of his family had been unable to contact him so broke in through a kitchen window to find him on the kitchen floor.

Mr Scrimshaw’s GP Dr Vessey said that he had a history of using magic mushrooms, LSD and alcohol that dated back to the early 1990s.

He revealed that in 2006, Mr Scrimshaw ‘had trouble not drinking each day and had very high blood pressure,’ before receiving a letter from the Substance Misuse Service in 2010 regarding his use of methodone.

Consultant pathologist at Lincoln County Hospital Dr Harvey said that in a postmortem, there were no significant abnormalities externally or internally, and that when his heart was examined by microscopically by international cardiovascular expert Dr Mary Sheppard, no evidence was found of heart disease.

A toxicology report showed that although he had a history of alcohol abuse, no alcohol was found in his blood but methodone was - which he was prescribed as part of his drugs replacement therapy.

However, experts were unable to determine whether the level of methodone in his blood when he died was due to an acute overdose or simply the result of chronic therapeutic use.

“From the post-mortem results, toxicology reports and microscopic findings I was unable to ascertain a cause of death,” said Dr Harvey.

“It is possible that Mr Scrimshaw died of methodone toxicity, but it is also possible that he died of a sudden cardiac arrest caused by high blood pressure, chronic alcohol abuse or obesity, or a combination of any of these.”

The doctor said that such uncertainties were not at all unusual and added: “I would like to express my sympathies to his family.”

Coroner Stuart Fisher recorded an open verdict as there were, adding: “Nigel Scrimshaw’s death was tragic, and I would like to offer my deepest condolences and sympathies to his family.”

“We are unable to ascertain the cause of his death, or whether or not he died of natural causes.”

He added: “One thing that is clear is that there is no evidence that his death came about as a result of suspicious circumstances.”