Mystery surrounds death of Sunderland man after allegations he was injected with heroin by a stranger

An inquest heard allegations that a 31-year-old man died of a drug overdose after was injected with heroin by a stranger he met in a park.

Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 1:47 pm
Updated Wednesday, 25th September 2019, 5:29 pm
Aaron McEwan died in his home in Evelyn Street, Sunderland

Aaron William McEwan died at his home in Evelyn Street, Sunderland, after taking a combination of drugs, including heroin, which the inquest heard he had taken for the first time when he died.

It had been alleged that a stranger he had met in a Sunderland park injected him with heroin, an inquest at Sunderland Civic Centre heard.

A 20-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter but he has since been released with no further action to be taken.

Sunderland assistant coroner Karin Welsh has come to the conclusion that Mr McEwan’s death was drug and alcohol related.

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She said: “There was that link with the drugs – the difficulty is taking it one step further to see if all the drugs came from Aaron himself or whether there was anyone else involved.

“We don’t have any evidence for that.”

This means his grieving family have been left without answers regarding the man who allegedly injected their 31-year-old son in September 2018.

A postmortem, carried out by Dr Peter Nigel Cooper, found Mr McEwan had a number of drugs and alcohol in his system ahead of his death - including heroin, morphine, cocaine and amphetamine.

The combination of drugs, although some were at a low level, was responsible for his death.

A statement given to police after the incident by a woman, who says she had been in a relationship with Mr McEwan for six months before his death, suggests he was injected by a man they had met earlier that day.

Sergeant Steve Robinson, who led the investigation following Mr McEwan’s death, said: “She said she had come into an amount of money through some benefits and she had been in Sunderland city centre with Mr McEwan drinking alcohol and taking drugs – both prescribed and non-prescribed.

“They were in Burn Park when they met a person they didn’t know and engaged in a conversation around drugs and drug use.”

The three then bought some crack cocaine before heading to Mr McEwan’s home in Evelyn Street where his girlfriend and the unknown man smoked it, said Sgt Robinson.

She said she had injected heroin previously whereas Mr McEwan hadn’t and they asked the unknown man to inject them both – which he did before injecting himself.

His girlfriend, who did not attend the inquest, told police she then passed out and doesn’t remember anything until she was awoken by paramedics the next morning – where she was taken to hospital and gave a statement to police.

Sadly, Mr McEwan was pronounced dead by paramedics responding to a call made when a friend knocked on the window to his house and realised something wasn’t right.

Days after his death, his girlfriend called police and said she had tracked down the stranger they had met.

He was arrested and questioned under caution but despite three attempts to hold an identity parade, Mr McEwan’s girlfriend didn’t attend.

Both police and the coroner’s office have struggled to contact the girlfriend or the friend who initially alerted police.

The man who was arrested in connection with Mr McEwan’s death, has refused two summons – one to provide a statement and the other to attend the inquest.

Assistant coroner Welsh said: “I take the view that I could adjourn and issue summons after summons but I don’t think that will help you or help me.

“I need to reach a decision today so at least we have some conclusion.”