Coroner rules Blackburn dad and life long Manchester City fan, 29, died in his sleep after taking painkillers

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Jack Biggs was a lifelong Manchester City fan who was ‘so funny and made everyone laugh’.

A 29-year-old dad who ‘loved a bit of karaoke’ passed away in his sleep after taking prescribed painkillers.

East Lancashire coroner Kate Bisset heard how lifelong Manchester City Football Club fan Jack Biggs had been suffering with a number of physical issues such as an abscess on his lung, a fractured foot and hip pain before his death on November 5 last year.

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The coroner was told by Jack’s family, including his mother June, father William, sister Leah and ex-partner Giovanna, that he was also dealing with psychological issues such as trauma from childhood abuse which led him to being diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and depressive disorder.

Jack had been in a lot of pain so had been prescribed varying amounts of different medications such as oxycodone and fentanyl by his local GP at St. George’s Surgery in Blackburn.

His parents had been concerned about the high doses of these painkillers prescribed to Jack.

Dr Haider Naweed, who was Jack’s GP, first met him on May 13, 2022 and shared his family's concern that his dosage was too high.

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Jack, holding the Premier League trophy won by his club Manchester City.Jack, holding the Premier League trophy won by his club Manchester City.
Jack, holding the Premier League trophy won by his club Manchester City. | ugc

He then put Jack on a plan to start on 280 milligrams of oxycodone per day and then reduce the dosage by 10% every one or two weeks.

Jack would often explain to Dr Naweed that he was in a great deal of pain and enquired if there was another pain relief such as fentanyl yet after a year of appointments and consultations, Jack had managed to reduce the dose to around 80mg.

However, during a time where Dr. Naweed was on annual leave, Jack had allegedly attempted an overdose with oxycodone as well as picking up a chair during a visit to St. George's Surgery.

Speaking of this incident, Jack’s sister Leah said: “I know he’d never do that (purposely try to end his life) as he wouldn’t leave his son.

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“It was just a cry for help, out of desperation as he was in so much pain.”

After the incident at the surgery, Jack was told he would no longer be prescribed any painkillers and would have to find a new practice.

He was then put in contact with Dr Sayed Malik who works for Compass Medical, a company who works with people like Jack who are without a practice to care for them.

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Dr Malik was sent over an electronic version of Jack’s medical records from a clinical commissioning group yet this only featured his recent prescription history rather than the full records.

From these records, Dr Malik spoke with Jack on November 3 over the phone.

She told the coroner during the inquest at Accrington Town Hall: “He had run out of medication and wanted more and was upset after his incident with his GP.

“He sounded tired and said how he felt he was having withdrawals due to the reduction in his medication dosages.”

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After this, she prescribed him fentanyl patches which were to be used once every three days and as a replacement for the oxycodone rather than an addition to it.

Just two days after the call with Compass, Jack felt great due to the patches and even texted his brother Richard saying how proud he’d be.

After spending the day with his son, Jack felt tired so headed to bed at around 5pm. Shortly after his mother found him unresponsive.

An ambulance arrived and Jack was confirmed dead at 7:32pm with no signs of disturbance or robbery with a pack of empty medication found near his bed.

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Recording a verdict of misadventure, coroner Kate Bisset said: “I am not satisfied Jack had any intention to end his life based on the information his family has given about him.

“Thanks to a toxicology report we can see that a combination of pain relief compounds were likely to have taken his life despite all being in a low concentration.

“I rule this as a misadventure as Jack intended to take medication to finally get a good sleep yet he did not intent to take his own life as a result.”

The coroner also explained how she would be writing to clinical commissioning groups to get more information on the speed of medical records transfers and if this could be improved in the future.

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Paying tribute to her son, Jack’s mum June said: “He always had everyone laughing and he was just so funny.

“He was never a party animal but he loved a bit of karaoke with ‘If I Can Dream’ by Elvis being his favourite.”

Jack was a lifelong Manchester City supporter and going to see matches was one of his favourite things to do.

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He also had an eight-year-old son Oliver who he learned to co-parent with Giovanna.

She said: “Oliver is just like Jack, he’s pretty much his twin.

“Everything he does reminds us of him and he even sings karaoke like his dad.”

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