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Alan Penney, from Folkestone, died in caravan in Lyminge after morphine overdose

By Vicky Castle

A young man who struggled for years with back pain after being hit by a van died of a morphine overdose, an inquest heard.

Alan Penny, 30, from Folkestone, was found dead in a caravan at his grandparents' smallholding in Lyminge. He had moved in just over a year before his death.

Assistant Coroner Christine Freedman heard how the former heroin addict had left his bedsit in Folkestone in a bid get away from neighbours and friends who were still using drugs.

The court hearing took place at Folkestone Magistrates' Court

But just 15 months later, he was found dead by his grandma's partner Keith Marsh after taking too many prescription drugs.

Giving evidence at the inquest at Folkestone Magistrates' Court, Mr Marsh said Alan had suffered problems with his neck and spine ever since he was hit by a van in 2009.

He previously self-medicated for the pain with heroin, cocaine and cannabis but had managed to kick the class A drugs habit.

Mr Marsh said: "He was taking medication for his back problems and he was trying to clean himself up and sort his life out.

"He was doing really well until Christmas time and it changed from then on and we just don’t know why" - Keith Marsh

"He was doing really well until Christmas time and it changed from then on and we just don’t know why."

Mr Marsh then went on to describe the devastating moment on Thursday, January 21, he found his grandson dead.

Mr Penny, who was known to the Shepway Community Mental Health Team and was on the waiting list to see a psychiatrist, had taken a fatal dose morphine-based painkiller pills Zomorph.

Mrs Freedman said: "His pain was getting worse and the medication was not taking it away.

"He clearly had a number of mental health problems for which he had attempted to seek help.

"But I am not persuaded that this was a deliberate attempt to take his own life.

"We do know that he sought help and made a number of attempts to clean up his life and he was seeing a GP.

"He appears to have reduced his intake of illicit drugs and he deliberately moved away from where his associates may reintroduce him into illicit drugs."

Mrs Freedman said she could not definitively rule the death as suicide and officially recorded a verdict of a drug related death.

For more information on about substance abuse, mental health or support services visit www.turning-point.co.uk

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