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Heroin took my baby's daddy

PUBLISHED: 18:00 14 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:11 03 March 2010

THE girlfriend of a man who died from a heroin overdose has hit out at the drug pushers who have ruined her and her young daughter's life.

Derek Finlayson died in the Ipswich Salvation Army hostel after taking a lethal overdose despite the fact that he had been fighting to get out of the spiral of drugs he had been trapped in since a teenager.

THE girlfriend of a man who died from a heroin overdose has hit out at the drug pushers who have ruined her and her young daughter's life.

Derek Finlayson died in the Ipswich Salvation Army hostel after taking a lethal overdose despite the fact that he had been fighting to get out of the spiral of drugs he had been trapped in since a teenager.

Today his devastated girlfriend, Sarah Harper-Finlayson told how the 27-year-old had returned to Ipswich from where they had been living in Wales, to find a better life for his new found family.

He had left his 28-year-old girlfriend and her four-year-old daughter, Lauren, in their seaside home in New Quay, Wales while he found work and a house in Ipswich.

But their hopes of a reunion were dashed when Derek, or Del, as he was known to his friends, was found dead by a cleaner at the hostel.

At an inquest in to his death, Coroner Dr Peter Dean, recorded an open verdict, as it could not be ascertained whether it was accidental death or whether Derek had intended to commit suicide.

To this day, Sarah cannot understand how he ended up back in a world of drugs and has put out a desperate plea for help to get the drug pushers who sold him the heroin, jailed.

Through the shock and sadness of her boyfriend's sudden death, Sarah feels a tremendous anger to the person who sold Derek the drugs.

She said: "I would not want to meet them because I don't know what I would say and I would not want to be responsible for that.

"They have destroyed my life and my daughters life. If someone reads this and they know anything at all – please, just call the police."

At the inquest Malcolm Ford, assistant manager at the hostel described Derek as polite and friendly.

These qualities are something that Sarah also recognised. She said: "He was generous and really kind. He was so loyal and stuck by me."

Sarah and her daughter have both been devastated by what has happened.

She said: "Someone out there must know who sold Del this rubbish that not only took his life but my future and Lauren's as well.

"It is me who has to explain (to Lauren) every day why we never moved and why Del is never coming back."

Derek moved into her house after they had been together for six months and took on her daughter Lauren as his own.

When Lauren was taken to hospital after a bad asthma attack, Derek stayed by her bedside for a week.

Sarah also said that they had planned to get married in October and they were even trying for another baby before his life was tragically cut short.

All his clothes are still in a cupboard at Sarah's home and she still cannot bear to look at them or get rid of them.

She has taken on the name of Finlayson and so has Lauren.

Derek had only taken a bag of clothes with him when he left for Ipswich because he was planning on going back to Wales to collect them as soon as he had found them a house.

Sarah said: "He had lived in Norwich Road in Ipswich before coming to Wales and he was really looking forward to moving back there and getting a job.

"I was going to University studying Anthropology and Mythology and he used to come to lectures with me.

"He also used to help me do my work when we got home.

"He was well educated and had quite a few qualifications."

Sarah said her boyfriend's whole life had never been easy – his mother lived in London and he had been adopted by a family in Colchester.

She said: "But he was half-caste and they were white and even though they all got on well he never felt like they were his family.

"When he moved in with us he said it was the first family life that he had ever had."

Sarah, met Derek when he went to Wales in a bid to try to trace his brother.

She said: "That did not work out for him and his brother disowned him – they had not seen one another for 20 years."

Derek's death in September mystified and angered Sarah as she claims that he had not touched drugs for a year.

She said: "It was hard for him when he first came off as he would start sweating and have mood swings. But he started having counselling and he got through it."

Sarah had spoken to Derek on the day before he died.

She said: "I knew he was depressed because he had got into a fight, but he used to phone me every day.

"He was trying not to mix with anyone from where he was staying as he was trying to get away from all that.

"He told me he had even joined a gym and had put on weight – that is how determined he was to get off drugs."

n The Evening Star's Push out the Pusher and Push out the Playground Pushers campaigns aim to play their part in the battle against those who peddle their deadly drugs.

If you or your family's life has been tainted by the scourge of drugs then telephone the Evening Star newsdesk on 01473 613500.

Alternatively if you have any information which would help Suffolk Police in the fight against the pushers telephone their Operation Crackdown hotline on 0800 253253 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.s

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