A MAN was found dead in a Southend lock-up after overdosing on “killer crack”
cocaine laced with pet dewormer, an inquest heard.
Building firm boss Matthew Holbrook, 45, of Newington Close, Southend, was found by work colleagues in Southchurch Road after he had not been seen for a number of days, Chelmsford Coroners Court heard.
Mr Holbrook was found unresponsive with a used crack pipe and some pea-sized rocks of crack, but toxicology results showed the used cocaine had been cut with levamisoile – a dewormer and treatment for roundworm infection in cattle, pets and tropical fish.
Towie star Mick Norcross donated £100 to a fundraising campaign set up by Mr Holbrook’s daughter, Daisy, to help people living in a village in Guinea-Bissau, Africa.
Paying tribute to his friend, Mr Norcross said: “Matt was a friend of mine for many years and I knewhim both professionally and personally, but we rarely socialised and I was unaware of any involvement with drugs.
“As far as I’m concerned he was a hard worker, devoted family man and had a fantastic sense of humour.
“We had much in common, in that we both loved our dogs and outdoor sports and we had a healthy rivalry whenever we were able to spend a few hours fishing together, one of our favourite pastimes.
“He is sadly missed by his family, myself and many others and I fully support Daisy’s fundraising.”
The campaign has so far raised £1,945 in memory of her late father.
Mr Norcross posted on Daisy’s fundrazr.com page: “I know he would have been so proud of you as your name always came up in our conversations.
“I wish you well with the fundraising. Sending my love and condolences to you all. I will miss your dad being around.”
Mr Holbrook ran building firm Primeline Contracting and worked in London, often staying there overnight.
The inquest heard in the days before his death, on January 11, his partner Lisa Condon, 49, became concerned when he did not come home.
A post-mortem and toxicology tests found he died from morphine, benzodiazepine and cocaine intoxication, but coroner Eleanor McGann said toxicology tests showed he had used cocaine that had been cut with levamisoile.
She said the tests on his hair showed use of heroin and cocaine in the last eight months and traces of the veterinary medication.
Mrs McGann recorded a verdict that he died as a result of drug abuse.
Levamisole is mixed with cocaine in South America due to its similar stimulant effect.
However, side effects include skin rot and suppression of white blood cells.
Complications of cocaine adulterated with levamisole were first reported in the USA in December 2009.
It has been labelled “killer crack” in the US and Canada.
In April this year it was revealed that four fifths of all cocaine seized in the UK now has traces of Levamisoile in it.