Privately educated boy of 13 killed by lethal cocktail of drink and drugs at his family's £4m home.
*. Coroner told mother, father, uncle and aunt of Drew Quinlan, 13, were all heroin users and at some stage had taken anti-depressants
*. Aunt tells inquest she saw uncle Michael Quinlan Junior give teenager two pills days before he died.
A privately educated schoolboy was found dead on the sofa of his family's £4 million town house after taking a cocktail of drugs and alcohol, an inquest heard yesterday.
Drew Quinlan, 13, was found face down on the settee of his grandfather's four-storey home in Richmond, South-West London.
He had consumed a toxic mixture of anti-depressants belonging to his family and alcohol, and had also been exposed to heroin in recent months, a post- mortem examination report stated.
Despite troubled periods, Drew was the happiest he had ever been, according to relatives. He had returned from a school trip to France before spending the weekend at the park and having a riverside lunch with family.
The evening before he died he had played video games with his uncle Michael Quinlan junior, who was also teaching him to play guitar. His mother was away and Drew had not wanted to sleep on the top floor alone so he had slept on the sofa near the family's two labradors, his grandfather Michael Quinlan senior said.
But the following morning Mr Quinlan senior woke to find the teenager's lifeless body lying in an unnatural position.
He told the court: "I thought he was foxing, to the extent that I walked over and slapped him on the bottom and told him to get up. I grabbed his shoulder and pulled him up a little. Then I saw his face was blue."
The post-mortem report showed ten times the therapeutic level of prescription drug citalopram and one and a half times the legal limit for driving of alcohol. He had also been an occasional user or exposed to heroin in the months before he died. Drew, who attended a boarding school for troubled children in Sussex but had previously attended a private school in South-West London, was raised by his grandparents believing they were his parents. He had also been an occasional user or exposed to heroin in the months before he died. Drew, who attended a boarding school for troubled children in Sussex but had previously attended a private school in South-West London, was raised by his grandparents believing they were his parents.
A year earlier he had discovered that the girl he thought was his sister and who was battling a heroin addiction was in fact his mother.
In the months before Drew’s death his grandmother Vanessa had died after a long fight with motor neurone disease.
At the time Drew died his biological mother was in rehab and he was spending time with his biological father and his aunt.
His uncle Michael Quinlan junior, 30, who lived with them in the child’s grandparents’ house, was also a heroin user. His uncle and aunt both used the anti-depressant citalopram and his mother a similar prescription drug.
All three said they had no knowledge of how Drew came by the drug.
But his aunt, Kathryn Tippett Wilson, alleged that Michael Quinlan junior gave Drew the drug in frontof her just days before his death.
Coroner Jeremy Chipperfield recorded a verdict of accidental death at West London Coroners’ Court.
He said: ‘Drew was an intelligent and spirited boy of 13. He was regarded as a loveable and good boy and was loved by his family.
Despite the recent traumatic events in the family he was coping well in March 2011.
‘He spent March 27 – the last full day of his life – almost entirely in the company of his family.
‘All of them claimed to be unaware that he used oracquired drugs in their company but somehow or from somewhere he did acquire them and probably took them in sufficient quality to kill him.
‘It is likely he obtained these drugs from membersof his family with whom he was in contact on the last day of his life.’
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