Tragic footballer's potent cocktail

A 24-YEAR-OLD footballer who died in a road accident had taken a potent mixture of alcohol and cocaine, an inquest heard.Nigel Stebbings was celebrating after scoring for his football team, Peasenhall United, by drinking with friends at the Black Horse pub in High Street, Leiston, before the accident happened just after midnight on March 3.

A 24-YEAR-OLD footballer who died in a road accident had taken a potent mixture of alcohol and cocaine, an inquest heard.

Nigel Stebbings was celebrating after scoring for his football team, Peasenhall United, by drinking with friends at the Black Horse pub in High Street, Leiston, before the accident happened just after midnight on March 3.

The inquest at Lowestoft Magistrates' Court heard that the men had made a plan to get the last bus home to Saxmundham, but at some point during the evening Mr Stebbings had obtained the keys to a Peugeot 306 belonging to his friend Daniel Hostler.

He then used the car to make the journey back to Saxmundham without Mr Hostler's knowledge, but died when he crashed into a hedge in Harrow Lane, Theberton, near Leiston.

A post-mortem examination found the cause of death to be a fatal head injury, but also found that the amount of alcohol in his blood was almost three times the legal drink-drive limit, and traces of cocaine were in his urine.

A witness spotted the car driving “erratically” away from the pub car park.

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Greater Suffolk coroner, Dr Peter Dean, said: “He was considerably over the drink drive limit and was influenced by cocaine in his system.

“It would appear that what happened that what took place on that night was a tragic accident, but again, I think this tragedy emphasises the dangers of driving with an increased alcohol level, and certainly of drugs.”

The inquest heard that the combination of drugs formed cocaethylene in Mr Stebbings' blood, which would have had an enhanced and prolonged effect on his ability to drive.

Nigel's mother, Sandra Stebbings, said: “We knew that there was alcohol involved. He had scored a goal that afternoon and would have been celebrating.”

His father, Nicolas Stebbings, said: “It is a tragic loss. The family want to show their appreciation to all of Nigel's friends and colleagues for their kindness and support.”

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