Record of Investigation Into Death (Without Inquest)
Coroners Act 1995
Coroners Rules 2006
I, Robert Pearce, Coroner, having investigated the death of
Corey Albert FAZACKERLEY-WATSON
(a) The identity of the deceased is Corey Albert Fazackerley-Watson born 2 September 1979
(b) Mr Fazackerley-Watson died at the Launceston General Hospital on 17 March 2011
(c) Mr Fazackerley-Watson died as a result of mixed drug toxicity
(d) No other person contributed to the cause of death
Circumstances Surrounding the Death
At the time of his death Mr Fazackerley-Watson was aged 31. Despite the efforts of his mother and other services he had a long history of acute intravenous drug use. He was in poor physical condition.
On 17 March 2011 he was found unresponsive on the floor of a toilet in a public car park. A used syringe was adjacent to his body. He was treated by paramedics of Ambulance Tasmania and conveyed to the Launceston General Hospital but was pronounced dead. A post mortem examination disclosed recent needle puncture injuries on his right arm. Toxicology testing of his blood showed the presence of multiple prescription drugs, over the counter drugs and a metabolite of cannabis. The drug alprazolam, the drug found in the syringe, was present in Mr Fazackerley-Watson's blood at a high therapeutic level.
I am satisfied from the evidence disclosed by the post mortem examination and the opinion of the forensic pathologist that the combined effect of the drugs caused central nervous system depression followed by respiratory depression and death by cardiac arrhythmia.
Mr Fazackerley-Watson was, at the time of his death, the subject of a drug treatment order made under the Sentencing Act. Such an order is made as an alternative to imprisonment. Because of the order he had available to him many services to assist his rehabilitation from the use of illicit drugs. He reported that he had been drug free in the weeks prior to 17 March 2011 and was making positive progress. He had support from his family. There is no real explanation for a relapse.
Mr Fazackerley-Watson went to the Launceston General Hospital on 16 March complaining that he had been assaulted. He did not stay to be treated and left contrary to medical advice. He presented to the Justice Department the following morning, 17 March. He complained of continuing symptoms and an ambulance was called. He was noted to have been confused and complaining of headache and neck pain. He was taken to the hospital where he was examined by a doctor at 11.40 am. He was discharged at 12.10. He was brought back to the hospital by ambulance at 2.28 pm after having been found unconscious.
The post mortem examiner was aware of the allegation of assault. He concluded that there was no evidence that an injury suffered in an assault contributed to his death and that the cause of death was mixed drug toxicity.
Comments & Recommendations:
I have decided not to hold an inquest into Mr Fazackerley-Watson's death because the investigation has sufficiently disclosed his identity, the time, place and cause of death, the relevant circumstances concerning the death and the particulars needed to register the death under the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act. I do not consider that the holding of an inquest would elicit any further information and, in the circumstances, is not necessary.
I convey my sincere condolences to Mr Fazackerley-Watson's family.
DATED: 7 February 2012 at Launceston in Tasmania