Preston Headway charity volunteer died after night drinking more than four times the legal drink-drive limit

A charity volunteer from Preston, who had previously suffered a traumatic brain injury, died after a drink binge with a pal, an inquest has heard.

By James Holt
Friday, 17th September 2021, 3:45 pm

Carl Galvin, of Ripon Street, Preston, was known to be a heavy drinker who had been referred mental health services and alcohol support in the months before his death.

The 36-year-old was a much-loved volunteer with the local Headway charity for five years before his passing, having suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2011.

Sitting at Preston Coroners' Court, Coroner Sian Jones concluded that his death, on April 17 of this year, was not intentional, and that he died as a result of combined fatal levels of ethanol and methadone in his system following a night drinking with a close friend.

The inquest was held this morning at coroner's court

She also ruled that his fatty liver disease was a contributing factor and that a toxicology report showed alcohol levels were four times the drink-drive limit.

The inquest heard that Carl had a dependency on alcohol and had been referred to mental health services by his GP in the September of last year.

In evidence, GP Dr Hussain said he had seen Mr Galvin personally on two occasions, where he had then referred him to alcohol and drug services following an appointment where his speech was ‘slurred’.

Dr Hussain also confirmed that Carl suffered from depression and PTSD and had made contact with mental health support services but had not always cooperated with them.

In the night before his death, he had reportedly been drinking vodka and ‘high percentage’ cider with friend Neil Faulkner, who left Carl asleep on the sofa at around 1 am on April 17, before then finding him unresponsive the following morning.

In his statement he said: “On April 16 I had been chilling with Carl. We were both drinking cider and had been sharing vodka. He was paralytic and very drunk and I knew he was a heavy drinker.

“He was slurring his words and I informed Carl that I would be heading home. I helped him lie down on the couch and locked up.

“I called him three times in the morning but he did not answer which he always does.”

Neil then made a visit to the apartment, at around 10.45am the following morning, and found him in the same position on the couch unresponsive, before calling the emergency services.

He also said that Carl had spoken about feeling ‘concerned’ about a liver function test that he was due to undergo.

Officers and paramedics attended the scene, which a senior paramedic said was “very cluttered, messy and dirty, with lots of empty cans of cider scattered about the floor.”

PC Joshua Lukins, a sergeant from Preston Police, was also called as a witness and said there was a bin full of empty cider cans and that it ‘was clear there had been heavy drinking’ and that there was no signs of any other disturbance at the property.

Coroner Sian Jones said: “The consumption of both ethanol and methadone acted together to cause his death by the depression on the respiratory system.

“Drink and drugs, along with the fatty liver disease would have contributed to his death.

“On April 17, Carl was found deceased at his home address having consumed a fatal amount of alcohol and methadone and I conclude it was death by misadventure, which means he didn’t intend to cause himself any harm.

“This was a drink and drug related death, as opposed to any conscious decision he had to harm himself.”

Carl Galvin’s family, who attended the inquest, declined provide any further comment today.