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Death of man in chronic pain after motorbike crash was drug-related, inquest hears

Suffolk Coroners' Court in Ipswich Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

Suffolk Coroners' Court in Ipswich Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

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The death of a Ipswich man who suffered life-changing injuries in a motorbike crash which left him in chronic pain was drug-related, a coroner has concluded.

Matthew Stopher, 42, of Dover Road, was found in the bedroom of his home by his parents on the morning of March 19 this year.

An inquest into his death, at Suffolk Coroner's Court in Ipswich, heard Mr Stopher had suffered a series of tragedies in his life which had led him developing a dependency on drugs from self-medicating.

The inquest heard when he was just a teenager, he was involved in a serious road crash in which a friend was killed and he suffered serious head injuries which left him in a coma.

Senior coroner Nigel Parsley told the inquest in 2001 Mr Stopher's father took his own life, causing the then 24-year-old to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Then in 2002 Mr Stopher was knocked off his motorcycle in a crash that left him with life-changing injuries, losing the soft tissue from the heel of his left foot and injuries to his left leg.

He underwent various operations to repair the damage but his injuries never fully healed, leaving him in continuous pain.

The inquest heard Mr Stopher began self medicating with a cocktail of drugs to ease the pain from his injuries.

Despite not being able to walk, the inquest heard he had a loyal group of friends and a loving family who used to take him out to socialise.

In a statement, his mother Lynne Smith said her son could not return to work as a mechanic because his foot would "break down" if he walked on it for too long.

Mr Parsley said Mr Stopher had various drugs in his system at the time of his death.

He said although the drugs were not in fatal doses by themselves and were at relatively "therapeutic levels". In combination they had led to his breathing rate to drop and he died in his sleep.

Mr Parsley said the medical cause of death was respiratory depression caused by mixed drug toxicity. He concluded his death was drug-related.

At the conclusion of the inquest, he said to Mr Stopher's parents: "It is one of those cases where my heart really goes out to you.

"My heart goes out to him too.

"It must have been very difficult for him to bear."

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