Family destroyed by curse of drugs

AT the age of just 27 Michael Lee's life was extinguished by his addiction to drugs.Before his death he had desperately tried to seek help and been off drugs for six months.

AT the age of just 27 Michael Lee's life was extinguished by his addiction to drugs.

Before his death he had desperately tried to seek help and been off drugs for six months. But in the end the temptation was too much, leaving Mr Lee unable to escape their curse.

His parents Graham and Janet have spoken about the legacy of bitterness and grief Michael's death has left behind.

ANGER, pain and sorrow consume the lives of Graham and Janet Lee today.

As they paid tribute to their eldest son Michael, the couple also launched a scathing attack on the drug pedlars, who continued to prey on their son, despite knowing it was likely to lead to his death.

To add to their pain Mr and Mrs Lee, of Cage Lane, Walton, told how Michael had only returned to Felixstowe the day before his death after a successful spell in a Bournemouth rehab clinic.

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Although still awaiting the results of toxicology tests, Mr Lee is adamant it was drugs that took Michael's life.

When his body was found at a house in Constable Road, Felixstowe, he had been left only 100 yards from the town's general hospital.

Mr Lee said one of the men involved in the supply chain of the drugs Michael took that night was Clive Hutson. Drug dealer and an addict himself, Hutson pleaded guilty earlier this month at Ipswich Crown Court to conspiracy to supply class A drugs and possession of heroin.

Mr Lee said: "One of the lads involved in the drugs Michael ended up with was Clive Hutson. He is a parasite. He fed his own drug habit and other peoples by dealing drugs to the likes of Michael. Surely if it was not him, the person who supplied it in the end to Michael knew he was just days from rehabilitation.

"He had been clean for six months. Surely these people knew that to give Michael a hit could quite possibly kill him. How can you feel about people who do this?

"My boy came home to pick up his belongings and now he is dead."

The 51-year-old said although Michael died on July 31, the immense fury he feels over his death is still as strong as ever four weeks on.

"It's the anger towards these people and the anger towards Michael for doing it. We have to go through this emotion and grief I suppose. His death has put a terrible strain on his brother. Both his grandmothers are in terrible pain. It's not just Michael or me and Janet. It is everyone. You could see that at the funeral. We had more than 100 people. Walton church was packed. There were all sorts of people there including drug users, some from Bournemouth and some from this area. There was even a minibus of people from Bournemouth."

After a normal happy-go-lucky youth, Mr and Mrs Lee said Michael fell in with the wrong crowd and drugs were freely available to him.

Mr Lee said: "We knew about it, but there was nothing we could do about it."

When Michael left school he got himself, what became, his only permanent job with a shipping company in Felixstowe. His parents realised how bad his troubles were when he took an overdose of anti-depressants while working there.

Mr Lee said: "It was not until he took the overdose that he said he had problems with drugs. We were devastated.

"He lost his job and never really went back to work again, although he had a few casual jobs.

"You could see him go downhill. Michael got himself a place about three years ago at rehab. He didn't really want to go. His heart was not in it. He went for three months. Then got himself a flat and fell back in with the wrong crowd again.

"At the end of last year, just around the time of his brother's wedding in October, he said 'I am killing myself - this just isn't working. I don't want this'.

"He struggled very hard to get into rehab again."

Michael went to a centre in Mundesley, Norfolk on New Year's Eve, where he stayed for three months. He then found himself a place in Bournemouth in another rehab clinic.

On July 30 he came home to Felixstowe to pick up some things to take back with him to help start a new life in Bournemouth.

Mr Lee said: "He was very happy. He was looking wonderful. We went out for a pub lunch and he would not even have a beer with me. He had an orange juice. He was in wonderful spirits. He was really up for it.

"On Saturday July 31 I had gone out and Janet said he borrowed £20 from one of his grandmothers to go out for the night and down to a nightclub. He did not come home that night. The police came at 3am and I had to identify his body at 8am."

Now it is left to Mr and Mrs Lee, their youngest son Robert and daughter Katie, to come to terms with Michael's life being cut short by a lethal addiction he could not overcome, no matter how much he tried.

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