The talented Exeter chef dies after a night out with friends (2023)

A former Exeter chef and builder who expressed a wish to live after a deliberate overdose died tragically just two days later after unknowingly taking a deadly combination of drugs. Luke Coles was found unresponsive on October 9, 2021 after a night on a friend's sofa, an inquest has found.

The 29-year-old had been under the watchful eye of friends who performed CPR as soon as they realized he'd stopped breathing, but he was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. In a statement, his mother, Michelle Kennedy, described him as "a very emotional boy who wore his heart on his sleeve."

The inquest at Exeter Coroner's Court at County Hall yesterday, January 30, found that the evening before his death, Luke had been at a friends' house, where he had consumed alcohol, coke and cannabis. He was described as a little "calm" but otherwise fine.

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While some friends stayed in town, he went back to his best friend's house in Exeter city center with two others to listen to music and play cards. One of the friends shared how they suspected him in a statementwent to the bathroom and did more drugs after becoming unsteady and lightheaded.

He was put on the sofa to rest, and the friends later left. When Luke's best friend arrived back at the house along with some other friends around 3 a.m., he was described as snoring and could not be woken.

They placed him in the recovery position around 7 a.m. after concern for his well-being and released him as he was not breathing properly. They performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation until paramedics arrived. An autopsy confirmed that the cause of death was the combined toxic effects of morphine and benzodiazepine.

Luke, who lived in Broadclyst with his mother and her partner, was said to have had a long history of depression and anxiety.

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The investigation revealed that he called an ambulance on October 7, 2021 after taking an intentional overdose. During the hospital stay, a psychological examination was performed and a referral to the hospital was madeCommunity Psychiatric Team.

A senior psychiatrist told the inquest: "He was evaluatedas a moderate risk to himself due to the substances he uses that increase the risk of unintentional death."

His mother described him as a lively and lively child who was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD around the age of 18. He then worked a variety of jobs including chef and builder and was previously employed by BT and Devon Doctors in the NHS 111 service.

At the start of lockdown in late March 2020, he lost his job on a building site and stayed with his family in Derbyshire. The following month, he fell off his bicycle while riding through a forest and suffered a head injury. As a result, he lost his sense of smell and taste, so he could no longer work as a cook. His mother, with whom he moved back in, said, "I think that's when the depression hit."

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The talented Exeter chef dies after a night out with friends (1)

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Ultimately we want to reduce the number of people dying by suicide in Devon. We show where to go for help and how Talking has helped people get through difficult times in their lives. We will talkFamilies who have lost loved onesto consider the lasting effects of suicide and to try to dismiss the inaccurate belief that many people who struggle reveal that they are a burden to those they love. We're looking at themdevastation for the bereavedwith the hope that even one reader will change their mind when contemplating taking their own life.

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Recalling the last few moments she spent with him, she recounted how he hugged her before taking him out for his night out, and due to his recent overdose attempt, he said, "I really don't want to die."

She said: "There weren't anyWhen I dropped him off on Friday it indicated he was on the ground or planning to kill himself, especially after the hug and comment in the kitchen."

His best friend, whose house he lived in before his death, said in a statement that Luke had used coke recreationally, but that it had become a "problem" over the past year and due to the problems he was having in his had life, so began self-medication. Describing Luke's mood before his death, the friend recalled that while he could tell he was sad, there was no indication that he was having suicidal thoughts.

He said: "He was sociable and talked to people. He was super friendly and cheerful and everyone loved him so much." He added, "I am heartbroken at his death. We were very close.”

Another friend who was with him that night described him as a "really nice guy" and said he warned him about the dangers of drugs that night after the deaths of other friends. He said, "I didn't want the same thing to happen to him."

A police investigation was conducted after Luke's death. Det Sgt John Friskey ruled out suicide, saying "It was an accident due to the substances he took that night."

Local coroner Alison Longhorn, who found a degree of drug-related death, said: "He used drugs recreationally, as he had done many times before, and sadly mistook the cumulative effect they had on him with tragic consequences calculated."

She added, "It is clear to me that he was a beloved family member and friend."

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