A CHORLEY man was high on drugs when he hung himself at the same spot as his brother.
Dean O’Malley’s family said the inquest’s open verdict proves that the 36-year-old hadn’t intended to take his own life.
The dad-of-one was found hanging from the same branch of the same tree in Rivington where his brother Jamie had committed suicide four years earlier.
The hearing at Preston Coroner’s Court heard how Dean had often visited the spot behind Rivington Primary School and would sit on the branch to feel closer to his older brother.
On the night he died he had told friends he was going there to find comfort after he wrote off his car and lost his job.
Toxicology tests carried out by consultant pathologist Dr Mark Pitt showed that the levels of morphine found in Dean’s body were high enough to have killed someone not used to the drug.
There was also recreational levels of amphetamine and diazepam present.
The court was told that Dean had a history of drug abuse, but he had made it his New Year’s resolution to get clean once and for all.
Dr Pitt said the cocktail of drugs would have created a state of ‘euphoria’ for Dean.
He said: “At the time of the event, Dean was under the influence of drugs and given the levels it’s highly probable that he wasn’t of sound mind and it would have effected his judgement.
“He would have been in a state of euphoria.”
Giving evidence, his close friend Nicola Barlow said that despite his problems with drugs, Dean was a good person.
Breaking down she said: “In the past few months he just seemed to go crazy. He didn’t like the fact he was addicted to heroin and using the other drugs was his way of trying to block it all out.
“I had been with him all weekend and had been due to see him on the night before he died, but I fell asleep.
“He had sent me a message saying his head was in a mess, but I didn’t see them until a few days later.”
Nicola said that Dean had lost his job as a sales rep because he had crashed his car and missed an appointment, but he was optimistic he would be able to get a second chance from his boss.
“Dean could talk his way in or out of anything,” she said. “
“He once said in a conversation though that when he felt down he thought he would be better off with Jamie, but I never thought for a minute that he would do it.”
Giving his own evidence, Dean’s dad, former Chorley publican Frank O’Malley, said he was certain his son hadn’t meant to kill himself on that fateful day in March.
He added: “Dean was very affected by Jamie’s death as we all were. I can remember him getting hold of me and saying ‘Dad I would never put you through this again.’
“He loved his family and I honestly don’t think for one minute that Dean had gone to the tree with the intention of committing suicide.
“He had gone there to be close to Jamie. That is what he used to do when he was down in the dumps, but I think the drugs kicked in and he did what he did and upset us all.”
Recording the open verdict, Deputy Coroner Simon Jones said he could not be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Dean had intended to take his own life and therefore could not record a verdict of suicide.
He added: “The word tragedy is too often used these days, but this truly is a tragedy for everyone involved.”