February 1, 2022 6.00 pm This story is over 28 months old

Lincolnshire man died of drug overdose days after being assaulted outside Asda

There were nine drugs in his system

A Lincolnshire man who died nine days after being assaulted had accidentally overdosed on drugs.

A police investigation was launched following the death of 24-year-old Joshua Hickman to establish whether he died as a result of the assault or drugs use.

He had been found unresponsive at his home in Caleb Hill Road, Old Leake, on February 18 last year, an inquest in Lincoln heard on Tuesday (February 1).

Just a few days earlier he had gone to Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital following an “altercation” outside the town’s Asda store, during which he suffered a laceration to his left eye.

While receiving treatment on February 9, Mr Hickman had asked to see mental health services as he was anxious about a pending court case three days later.

He was said to be “polite and showing no hostility” despite being told that a report for the court could not be prepared at that point.

Mr Hickman left for the reception area where a family member was waiting.

“He was seen then to be punching himself on the head and banging his head against a wall. He attempted to cut his arm with a key,” a witness for Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust told the hearing in written evidence.

On February 17, police found Mr Hickman in Nottingham “behaving strangely” and took him to the city’s Queen’s Medical Centre.

He underwent a CT scan and was advised to remain in hospital but discharged himself before taking a taxi home, the hearing was told.

A post mortem showed nine drugs in Mr Hickman’s system, some of which had not been prescribed.

Assistant coroner Paul Cooper said: “There’s no indication this was a suicide. He knew what he was doing, this was just another day in his life.

“Maybe he took more pills than he should have done on this particular occasion.

“There are illicit substances as well as prescribed substances.”

Concluding that the death was drug-related, Mr Cooper said no single substance had proved fatal but several taken together.

A police review of CCTV images of the assault could not establish any evidence as it was too far away.