Lincoln man’s death sparks fears over online chemical sales

The senior coroner for Lincolnshire has spoken of his concern about the ease with which potentially lethal chemicals are available to buy on the internet.

Tim Brennand was speaking at the inquest of 26-year-old Lincoln resident Aiden Rory John Hornby, who took his own life with a cocktail of drugs.

Mr Hornby, who had a history of depression and substance misuse and had previously attempted overdoses, received support from Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and was discharged in November 2017.

Although he had handed in his notice at Bookers warehouse, he was thought to have a positive outlook on the future as he was getting his mother’s help to refurbish his rented flat at Lamb Gardens and had taken steps towards cementing another family relationship.

However, in an event which “could not have been predicted by the trust”, Mr Hornby’s body was found in his kitchen on April 23 last year. In the bedroom there was a bottle of a clear chemical liquid and three typed letters of intention, one including his funeral wishes and money.

Mr Hornby was not on any prescribed medication but was known to take drugs with anaesthetic and sedative effects, the levels of which in his body were fatal, Thursday’s inquest at Boston Coroner’s Court heard.

The hearing was told that although the drugs are available commercially for legitimate usage in anaesthetics and as hypnotic agents, they are also used for illicit purposes to get a “legal high”.

Mr Brennand said: “What is this court to make of this sad and tragic case? A 26-year-old young man, seemingly with a family network in support in the form of his mother, but who took the view that self-medicating with a variety of illicit substances purchased off the internet was the appropriate way in which to manage and regulate his problems.

“Whenever anybody makes the dangerous decision to take the step to see fit that their condition can be managed by themselves on the basis that they have insight and understanding of their problems, it is an exercise in playing a highly dangerous game of chemical Russian roulette.”

Recording a conclusion of suicide, he added: “This is a court of law, not a court of morals. It is quite clear to me that the knowledge the deceased had acquired in relation to illicit chemicals purchased on the internet was the means by which he chose to end his life.

“It once again sends out the message that the apparent ease that these potentially harmful and lethal chemicals are available to impressionable young individuals is a matter about which all of our community should be concerned.”