Exeter man dies day after being brought back to life

Exeter Quay
-Credit: (Image: Chris Wollacott)

A 29-year-old Exeter man who discharged from hospital after being revived at a bus stop shelter the day before was found unresponsive just hours later on a city centre bench and passed away. Liam Drake was said to have become homeless in early 2022 following the breakdown of a relationship, an inquest heard.

He had been trying to find housing in Exmouth to be closer to family and was battling an addiction to alcohol and drugs. Liam was said to have had a long history of mental health illness due to 'complex childhood trauma' and a brain injury had left him with memory problems and learning disabilities.

An inquest at Exeter Coroner's Court on June 26 heard that Liam had been diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder and had struggled to engage with local addiction and support services. To help him overcome opiate addiction, he was prescribed daily supervised methadone medication.

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In the early hours of January 4, 2023, members of the public told in a statement how they found Liam slumped in a bus shelter on Alphington Road, Exeter. Police recalled that when they arrived he initially had a 'very faint pulse' but then went into cardiac arrest. He was given CPR and naloxone and rushed to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.

The following afternoon, January 5, he was deemed fit for discharge. That evening, at around 11.15pm, a dog walker found him lying unresponsive on a bench at Exeter Quay. With the help of a passerby they carried out CPR until an ambulance arrived but he was pronounced dead at the RD&E at around 12.20am on January 6, 2023.

A post-mortem examination confirmed the cause of his death was polydrug toxicity. Liam's mother told the coroner that she believed he had been let down by mental health services and that she had 'begged' for him to be admitted into a secure mental health facility.

Recording a conclusion of drug and alcohol-related death, senior coroner Philip Spinney said: "There is no evidence to suggest Liam deliberately intended to end his life."

He added: "He consumed a variety of medication and alcohol in combination that caused his death."