A man was found on a mattress in a High Wycombe alleyway after taking cocaine and heroin, an inquest has heard.

Paramedics desperately tried to save Lewis Hickman, 41, after they were called to a woodland area off Link Close on the evening of September 5 last year.

They were called to the scene at 8.41pm by a man who told paramedics Lewis had taken cocaine and heroin and was now unconscious.

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The unknown man who called 999 helped paramedics as they worked on Lewis, a scaffolder and roofer who was living in the Buckingham Guest House in West Wycombe Road, by holding a torch up for them – but he had disappeared by the time Thames Valley Police got to the scene.

An inquest at Buckinghamshire Coroner’s Court in Beaconsfield heard that Detective Constable Alex Trevivian suspected the unknown man was a fellow drug-user who did not want to get caught by police when they arrived.

But he added the man had likely done all he could to help Lewis get medical attention.

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Natalia Beer, who was the third paramedic on scene, said chest compressions had been started by her colleagues before she arrived and they administered naloxone, a medication to block the effects of opioids, but nothing more could be done and Lewis was pronounced dead at 9.23pm.

A statement from Alma Brown, of the National Probation Service, said that on August 24, Lewis had attended court and was addressing issues through the Building Better Relationships programme – such as drugs and alcohol and finding somewhere permanent to live.

Bucks Free Press: The wooded alleyway off Link CloseThe wooded alleyway off Link Close

She said she last spoke to Lewis on September 1 over the phone, but noted he was “aggressive and rude” and she terminated the call.

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She then went on annual leave and a colleague was due to see him on September 7. She was informed Lewis had passed away when she returned to work on September 17.

Ms Brown said she was unsure if Lewis’s “argumentative” tone over the phone was because he had been taking drugs or drinking, saying the incident was not enough to suspect a breach of his probation – but added that she had never witnessed Lewis turning up to appointments under the influence before.

Bucks Free Press: Beaconsfield Coroner's CourtBeaconsfield Coroner's Court

The inquest also heard that Lewis had called and sent texts to his ex-partner on September 4 saying he was going to “kill himself and no one would find him”, adding that he sounded drunk.

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But senior coroner for Buckinghamshire Crispin Butler said it would be doing Lewis a “disservice” to assume he had intended to take his own life.

A post-mortem found that Lewis had died of cardio-respiratory failure as a direct result of multi-drug toxicity.

Professor Lucas, who carried out the examination, found that there were near-toxic levels of morphine in Lewis’s blood, along with cocaine.

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Mr Butler said: “On balance, he consumed these substances but we don’t know what his motivation was. There doesn’t seem to be any signposting that something like this was going to happen on this particular day – it is very, very sad.

“What paramedics did was right but there were no options to save him.”

He recorded an open conclusion because he could not be sure Lewis had intended to take his life or not.

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