Man died after taking drugs hours after leaving rehab programme, inquest hears

A coroner has warned of the dangers of drug addicts undergoing treatment and returning to the habit having lost their tolerance.

It comes after an inquest heard yesterday (Wednesday) how a man died from drug toxicity hours after checking himself out of rehab.

Stewart Fenton, of no fixed address, was meant to be on a programme at Yeldall Manor in Hare Hatch. Instead, after voluntarily leaving the course early, the 40-year-old died at a house in York Road after taking a combination of heroin and cocaine called a ‘snowball’.

Senior coroner Peter Bedford said he found many drug death cases involve ‘the issue of tolerance’, where former drug users ‘go back to the same level of use’ they were on before giving up the habit, only to find their tolerance levels depleted.

The inquest, held at Reading Town Hall, heard how on Monday, July 24 last year, Mr Fenton visited an address in York Road with a female friend. A woman answered the door, and although she was initially upset her friend had brought him to the house, the three decided to take hits of ‘snowball’.

Later, one of the women found Mr Fenton face down on the floor. She sat him on the sofa and he fell asleep but late in the evening she noticed he was not breathing.

She called 999 and performed CPR until the ambulance service arrived, but the responders declared Mr Fenton dead at 10.40pm.

Police called to the scene said they found a ‘plethora’ of drug materials at the scene, including syringes.

They established he had been treated at Yeldall Manor, where he had been transferred from hospital in Weston-super-Mare.

The Advertiser understands Mr Fenton is the Stewart Fenton who made headlines after he was given a 16-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, for fraud by misrepresentation after posing as an army veteran.

Mr Fenton, who had a history of drinking, drug abuse and self-harm, had been part of the Addaction programme in North Somerset.

He was admitted to Yeldall in May 2017, initially on a 12-week rehabilitation course.

However, a Yeldall Manor counsellor, Simon Hockley, contacted Addaction to say Mr Fenton had said he no longer wanted to be there.

The inquest heard concerns arose that he was using the programme primarily for accommodation and despite Yeldall Manor and Addaction staff encouraging him to stay, he left after 10 weeks. By then he was due to complete a further 12 weeks of rehab.

Based on a toxicology report, which found traces of heroin and cocaine in his system, and a post-mortem examination, Mr Bedford concluded Mr Fenton died of drug toxicity.

The Royal Borough lists services available to people suffering from drug addiction and alcohol addiction. Visit for help.


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