Sister’s claim: Mum gave her son the drug that killed him

Robert Prentice
Robert Prentice
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AN inquest into a man’s death from a drug overdose was halted after his sobbing sister told the hearing their mother supplied the methadone.

Robert Prentice, from Hendon, Sunderland, was found dead in his mother’s front room on August 20.

Tests revealed the 27-year-old had taken a cocktail of drugs – including methadone.

The hearing was told the heroin substitute had been prescribed to his mother, Sharon, who told police she kept the Class A drug in a locked cupboard.

But Mr Prentice’s sister Elaine told the inquest in Sunderland that her mother – who was not at the hearing – supplied her brother with the methadone.

Wiping away tears, Miss Prentice, of Cork Street, said she had last seen her brother on the Friday before he died. “My mam told us it was her methadone. It was never, ever in any locked cupboard.

“I told the police the first day, but they did not listen to me because I was hysterical.

“My mam told the paramedics that Robert did not take any drugs, while they were trying to revive him.

“Why did she not tell them the truth? Because she supplied him the drugs and they did not want to be found out. Robert hated my mam.”

Coroner’s officer Reginald Hooper told the inquest that the father-of-two was a known drug-user and had mental health problems.

He was thought to have fallen asleep on the settee at Donnison Gardens, Hendon, and was checked at 2.30am and again at 5am.

But at 2.30pm, an ambulance was called and Mr Prentice was pronounced dead by paramedics less than an hour later after failed attempts to revive him.

As well as methadone, tests showed Mr Prentice had amphetamine, cannabis, diazepam and other drugs in his system.

Home Office pathologist Dr Jennifer Bolton said the levels of methadone could have been fatal to someone who was not used to the drug.

Senior Coroner Derek Winter said he would ask Northumbria Police to re-visit the case.

“I will ask the police to make some further inquiries that will mean speaking with you and other family members and reporting back to me.

“Subject to what they say, I may compel other people to attend and carry out further inquiries.”

A further hearing will take place on January 29.