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Killer cocktail caused rough sleeper death

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: May 08, 2014

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A ROUGH sleeper took a cocktail of drink and drugs before he died in the stands at Burton Rugby Club, an inquest has heard.

Alcoholic Wayne Fotheringham was not a regular methadone user, but took the Class A drug after he had been drinking all day.

Some said he had been given the substance as a ‘peace offering’ following an argument, though others said he asked his friend Andrew Smith for the drug.

A toxicology report following his death showed traces of the heroin substitute and an alcohol level of three times the drink-drive limit.

Pathologist Dr Joseph Newman said: “His death was caused by the consumption of a significant amount of alcohol together with ingestion of methadone.”

Mr Fotheringham was pronounced dead in the early hours of Thursday, January 16, after police and paramedics were called.

Officers had been there just 90 minutes before, following reports of noise, and heard the 41-year-old ‘snoring loudly’ at the back of the stands.

Detective Constable Michael Stretch, from Burton CID, said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death, although Andrew Smith, who was with him that night, has been charged with the supply of class A drugs.

Det Con Stretch said: “There was a conversation between Wayne and Andrew Smith discussing methadone, and witnesses said Wayne asked Andrew Smith for some of his methadone, which he provided. He was seen consuming some of it. He took the bottle and drank some. Andrew Smith told him to just sip it, but he drank it more quickly.”

Mr Haigh concluded that Mr Fotheringham suffered an alcohol and drug-related death.

He added: “Though Wayne regularly consumed alcohol, he was not a regular user of methadone, and, sadly, a small amount combined with the alcohol did cause his death on this occasion. He took quite a small amount, but it had a terrible result.”

Following the inquest, which took place yesterday at Burton Town Hall, family members said Mr Fotheringham was not a methadone user, but he was an alcoholic.

“He knew he could stay with any of us, but he chose to be the way he was,” his sister said.

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