Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Overdose killed businessman, 29

Mark Ferguson's mother Violet told the court in Belfast she was not aware of her son's past problems with drugs

A businessman who once claimed to spend up to £1,500 a week on drugs died after taking a lethal combination of drink and medication, a coroner has found.

The inquest into the death of 29-year-old Mark Ferguson from Antrim heard that one of the drugs found in his system had been prescribed by a doctor after he expressed fears his life was at risk, claiming someone had put a bullet through the door of his flat.

Coroner Jim Kitson ruled that the overdose that ultimately killed him was a "tragic accident" and that he had not intended to take his own life.

Mr Ferguson's mother Violet told the court in Belfast she was not aware of her son's past problems with drugs and could not believe the news when she was informed he was dead.

"It was such a shock. It was the last thing I expected to hear," Mrs Ferguson said.

Mr Ferguson, who ran his own car maintenance business, was found dead in his second floor flat in Greenpark Drive in the town last June. A post-mortem examination detected high levels of morphine and the anti-depressant Mirtazapine in his system. Diazepam, cocaine and alcohol were also present.

Mr Ferguson's GP told the court that of the two drugs - Mirtazapine and Diazepam - that had been prescribed by him, the latter was to address stress brought on by concerns for his safety.

Dr Gary Turk said: "He said a live round had been put through his door and felt his life was being threatened for some reason, but he didn't know why."

Police were initially unable to gain access to Mr Ferguson's flat, where he lived alone, because he had reinforced drop-down bars fitted to the inside door. Firefighters were required to break it down.

Dr Turk said Mr Ferguson had been to see him on a "semi-regular" basis in the four years leading up to his death with a number of drugs and drink issues. The doctor told the court that in 2008 he claimed to him he was spending between £500 to £1,500 a week on drugs.

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