Drugs binge killed 29-year-old Rikki

Chesterfield coroners' court.
Chesterfield coroners' court.

A South Normanton drug-user lay dead on his living room floor as his friend stepped over his body to collect leftover drugs, an inquest has heard.

The body of Rikki Hammond was found at his home in Primrose Close, following a ‘drugs binge’ the night before with a friend.

An inquest into his death was held at Chesterfield Coroners Court on Monday, December 2.

His friend, identified in court as Stuart Dalton, told the court that on the evening of January 4, the pair went to Nottingham to pick up “£40 worth of cocaine” and a “few grams of heroin.”

Mr Dalton told the court that when they had picked up the drugs they went back to Rikki’s house.

After playing computer games and having a few drinks, Mr Dalton left Mr Hammond on the sofa at approximately midnight, the inquest was told.

“He seemed okay, nothing out of the ordinary – if I thought something was wrong I wouldn’t have left him,” Mr Dalton said.

He then stopped at The Three Horseshoes pub in Pinxton, before heading on to his own home.

He told the court he woke up at roughly 10.30am the next morning and wanted the leftover heroin at Mr Hammond’s house.

He tried ringing but got no reply so went over to his house and let himself in.

He said Rikki, 29, was on the floor with a quilt and he assumed he was sleeping. He climbed over him to collect the heroin and left.

He told the court at that point he had no idea that Mr Hammond was dead.

Rikki’s grandfather Barry Noakes also gave evidence.

He told the court he had arranged for his grandson to go to his house for dinner on January 5.

When he tried to ring and did not get an answer he went to collect his grandson.

Mr Noakes explained that when he got to the house, the front door was unlocked. He went in and found Rikki on the floor.

Mr Noakes said: “I tried to wake him up but when I realised there was no pulse I rang 999. I did CPR until the paramedics arrived.”

But at approximately 3pm, he was pronounced dead, the inquest heard.

Pathologists said a cocktail of drugs, including heroin and anti-anxiety medication, were found in Mr Hammond’s system.

The lethal mix, in addition to a small amount of alcohol, led to suppressed brain function causing Mr Hammond’s heart and lungs to shutdown, and that he had “fallen into a peaceful sleep”, the inquest heard.

The inquest also heard how Rikki had a history of depression and alcohol addiction – but had been tee-total for months, until the night of his death.

Mr Noakes said Rikki had fought hard to battle his problem with alcohol and depression and thought it was in the past.

He added: “Rikki was a caring man who would do anything for you.”

Assistant coroner James Newman said: “From the evidence given today it seemed that Rikki had fought his battles but was on the way up. His death was a horrible accident.”