TWO deaths in Basildon which led to a huge public safety warning to drug users were caused by the “complications of mixed drug toxicity”, an inquest ruled.

Claire Aimable, 39, and Robert Edwards, 41, were both found dead in Viola Close, Basildon on June 13.

Police issued a public warning after officers found a synthetic opioid at the scene was of a similar or higher toxicity to fentanyl - about 100 times more potent than morphine.

The deaths led to Ahmed Khelifi, 39, of Gower Chase Basildon, being jailed for more than two years after admitting drugs offences.

An inquest into the pair’s deaths was heard by area coroner Michelle Brown at Chelmsford Coroner’s Court.

Ms Brown’s report read: “Robert Rhys Edwards and Claire Sylvia Aimable died on June 13 at Viola Close, Basildon, due to complications of mixed drug toxicity.

“I conclude the cause of death is a drug-related death.”

Synthetic opioids, such as etonitazene, are occasionally added to illicit drugs, like heroin, to enhance the potency, but they substantially increase the risk of respiratory arrest in users.

After searching Claire’s phone, the last number dialled belonged to Khelifi.

Khelifi’s address was raided and officers found crack cocaine with a street value of £1,100 and heroin valued at £1,000.

The heroin was found to contain the same synthetic substance as was found at Claire and Robert’s address.

Phones recovered from Khelifi were found to have housed the drug line number.

A search of Khelifi’s address revealed £2,305 in cash hidden in the dining chairs.

Khelifi pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs and two counts of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs.

He was sentenced to two years and four months imprisonment on July 20.

Detective Superintendent Gary Biddle said: “Firstly, our thoughts remain with the family and friends of the two people who have lost their lives in tragic circumstances.

“We worked with diligence and at pace to identify a drug line of interest in this investigation, with officers acting decisively not only to disrupt the illicit operation but to ensure others did not come to further harm. Public protection, no matter the circumstances, is at the heart of every investigation we pursue.”