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Sunday, 21 September 2014

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Cumbrian man died after taking cocktail of heroin and alcohol

A homeless father who battled with drink and drugs for years died after taking a fatal cocktail of heroin and alcohol.

Richard William Vickers Helm, 42, was found dead at his friend’s house in Bellgarth Gardens, Newtown Road, Carlisle, on September 14 last year.

An inquest heard his death was due to a large quantity of alcohol mixed with heroin.

Coroner David Roberts described the case as “desperately sad”, adding: “The picture painted is sadly of a man who ultimately wasted his life.”

Originally from Brampton, Mr Helm started training as a chef when he left school.

But things began to go wrong when he started drinking heavily. His mother, Elizabeth Helm, said his behaviour became so bad he was eventually thrown out of the family home.

He then got more deeply involved in drink and drugs.

He married and had two children, but later divorced.

Mr Helm spent a considerable amount of his life in prison.

He had sought help for his addictions at various stages and had been hospitalised several times.

In the years prior to his death he had spent a lot of time living on the streets of Carlisle.

Just months before he died he had appeared at the city’s magistrates’ court on a begging charge, saying he had no choice.

For a time he was joined on the streets by daughter Carrie-Ann Proctor. Now 21, she told the hearing that her dad had stopped taking heroin regularly following an ultimatum from her, but continued to struggle with alcohol addiction.

She added that he had also been the victim of several assaults: “Just because we were homeless people thought they could do what they wanted to him. Sometimes he would just be sticking up for me.”

A few weeks before his death he was hospitalised with mouth injuries following an assault. When he was discharged he was offered a bed at the home of friend Kieren Macrow, who had also lived rough for a time.

On the day he died, Mr Helm had made a rare trip out to the post office, on nearby Newtown Road, to withdraw his benefit money and buy four cans of super strength lager.

Soon after, he went back with Mr Macrow and bought a further four cans and a bottle of strong cider, which Mr Helm drank most of. They later headed to Wigton Road, where he met a drug dealer and bought them each £10 of heroin.

The pair went back to the house and each injected their supply. Mr Macrow then went for a lie-down, leaving his friend downstairs.

When he awoke at about 8pm he went downstairs to find Mr Helm lying on the floor.

He called 999 and tried to give mouth to mouth, but he could not be revived. A police investigation concluded there were no suspicious circumstances.

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