A lethal injection of heroin and cocaine following a night of drinking killed Jonathon ‘Tilly’ Taylor just hours after he put in a man of the match performance for Melton Mowbray Cricket Club, an inquest heard on Tuesday.
Mr Taylor, who was 32, had taken the cocktail of class A drugs while with his girlfriend, Ellie Wilford, in her bedroom in Staveley Road, Melton, just after midnight on September 13, 2015.
And when she woke up at 3pm, she told the Loughborough hearing, her boyfriend was lying next to her and was dead.
Asked by coroner Trevor Kirkman if she had prepared the drugs for Mr Taylor, Miss Wilford told the inquest: “I cooked it up, yes.
“It was cocaine and heroin. He had been sitting and he fell back on to the bed. I tried waking him but he just moaned. I rang his friend but he said he had done the same thing before and told me to just leave him because he would be fine.”
Miss Wilford, who said her mum was also in the property in another room, said she stayed up and watched television until 7am. She was with him all the time, she said, and he was snoring. He was lying on his left side after she had moved him into the recovery position in case he had been sick.
“He was still snoring when I went to sleep at 7am,” Miss Wilford told the inquest. “I woke up at 3pm and felt his hands and he was freezing. I looked at him and noticed he had passed away.”
She said she phoned for an ambulance before calling her mum, who had gone out to work early that morning.
A Community First Responder said he arrived at the scene five minutes after being alerted by East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS).
He told the hearing he found Mr Taylor wearing only a pair of boxer shorts and lying half on and half off the bed, which was a mattress on the floor.
He began performing CPR in attempt at resuscitation but stopped when an EMAS paramedic team leader arrived at the property.
The paramedic told the inquest: “I found an extremely distressed female who was shouting and was very upset. The patient had blue skin and rigor mortis had set in. My view was that CPR was futile and that the male was deceased and had been for some time.”
She said she loaned her phone to Miss Wilford because hers had no credit, so she could call her mum and a friend.
“I heard her on the phone shouting ‘Tilly’s dead’,” she told the coroner. “She was talking to her friend and I overheard a male voice telling her to remove the needles, the kit and the drugs.”
Dr Paul Smith, a forensic toxicologist with the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, told the hearing that blood and urine samples from Mr Taylor indicated alcohol levels similar to the threshold for drink driving.
He said: “There was evidence that cocaine and heroin had been taken prior to death in a process known as speedballing.
“The levels of alcohol, morphine and cocaine were relatively low but they may have been much higher at the time they were used.”
A post mortem was carried out by forensic pathologist, Dr Frances Hollingbury, who said there was a single needle mark in Mr Taylor’s right arm.
She told the inquest: “I cannot say exactly what time Mr Taylor died but I believe it was drug toxicity which led to Mr Taylor’s death.”
Coroner Mr Kirkman concluded that Mr Taylor had suffered a drug-related death.
As Mr Taylor’s mother, Caroline Barradell, sobbed, the coroner told the inquest: “This was a tragic death which clearly should not have happened.
“I offer my sincere condolences and I am sorry you have had to hear this evidence about a son and a brother.”
l Jonathon ‘Tilly’ Taylor was a talented all-round sportsman.
He was a very good cricketer and was regarded as an elegant batsman and a dangerous bowler who played County League cricket for all of the town’s clubs; Egerton Park, Thorpe Arnold and for the last four seasons Melton Mowbray. He spent his summer Sundays skippering Waltham CC.
The day before he died he scored 71 runs for Melton in a match-winning innings.
Melton CC now hold an annual memorial cricket match in his memory.