Published: 14:10, 20 June 2019
| Updated: 14:25, 20 June 2019
A "well loved" supermarket worker was found dead at home by his parents after taking drugs, following a call from his manager to ask why he had not turned up for his shift.
Philip Wilkinson, 44, was discovered unresponsive in his bed on Thursday, January 31, an inquest heard.
At a hearing into his death yesterday at the Archbishops Palace in Maidstone, assistant coroner Bina Patel heard how Mr Wilkinson had consumed a fatal amount of the drug GHB (gammahydroxybutrate).
The court heard how preliminary findings from an initial toxicology report were unassertained, but a second test carried out revealed 183mg per litre of GHB in his blood, a level associated with being in the toxic range.
The medical cause of death given was intoxication with GHB, which is a central nervous system depressant.
A police search of Mr Wilkinsons' phone revealed he was active on the gay dating scene and had engaged with others in conversations about the topic of 'ChemSex', which the drug is sometimes associated with.
The definition of ChemSex, according to the LGBT Foundation website, is "a term that is used when people are having sex, which involves using one or more of three specific drugs (chems) in any combination. People take part in ChemSex for a number of different reasons, some find it increases sexual stimulation, for other people it can reduce their inhibitions."
The court heard how the night before his parents, Denise and Charles, went round to his rented property at Victoria Terrace, Heath Road in Appledore, Mr Wilkinson had arranged to meet with another man, Kerry Allon, who gave evidence in court.
Mr Allon and Mr Wilkinson had previously been in touch around 10 years ago, but recently reconnected through the gay dating app Grindr.
Mr Allon went round Mr Wilkinsons house at around 3.30pm on Wednesday, January 30, where the pair spent time catching up. After about an hour, Mr Wilkinson pulled out a jam jar wih a clear liquid, which he told Mr Allon was GHB.
His house guest told the court how Mr Wilkinson poured himself a drink of it, mixed with juice, and also offered him some but he declined. Mr Allon added that he and Mr Wilkinson had not had a discussion about 'Chems' previously.
Mr Wilkinson, who Mr Allon understood to have taken more GHB earlier in the day, fell asleep shortly after upstairs.
Mr Allon left around 10.30pm after shaking him to say he was off. He said he had heard him snoring loudly, and his family in court added this was normal for Mr Wilkinson. He locked the front door and posted the keys back through.
In a statement read out to court, Mr Wilkinson's mother described how her and her husband let themselves into his home with their own set of keys following a phonecall to their landline from Mr Wilkinson's duty manager at Waitrose in Tenterden.
She explained that this was unusual as Mr Wilkinson 'loved his work', and felt 'something wasn't right' when they arrived and found the keys posted back through the letter box. The inner door was also open, which she deemed unusual as it was often locked when he was inside the house.
D.S. Kirsty Bricknell from Kent Police explained there was no signs of a disturbance in the property or violence: "I don't believe there was any third party involvement. I sadly believe that he took an accidental overdose of GHB."
In her conclusion, the coroner said: "I am satisfied that Mr Wilkinson died from a drug related death, after concuming a fatal level of GHB."
Mr Wilkinson was born in Guildford, Surrey and attended college in Folkestone. He previously worked at Saga.
The coroner expressed her condolences to the family and thanked them for attending. She also noted the help and support the family had provided to Mr Wilkinson in his lifetime.