Coroner calls for action to prevent future deaths at Northampton camp after rough-sleeper found dead behind retail park

A coroner has launched an investigation after a man who lived at a Northampton homeless camp was found dead next to a canal.

Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 12:56 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:22 am
Today's inquest took place in Northampton General Hospital's boardroom

Vadims Aleksejevs, 31, was found facedown behind St James Retail Park by another rough sleeper, on November 10, last year an inquest heard.

A friend of the deceased, Igor Korotkins was playing cards with Mr Aleksejevs the night before.

He said that an unknown younger man approached the table with a cigarette, filled with an illegal drug known as ‘Mamba’ and Mr Aleksejevs took “three puffs of the young guy's cigarette.”

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Earlier that day Mr Aleksejevs bought 10 cans of beer a shop on the Market Square to take back to the camp and was seen by friends to be acting "tipsy."

At 8.30am the next morning, Igor went to check on his friend as he thought he had too much to drink and it was unusual that he had not woken up.

Igor said in a statement read out to the inquest that he found Mr Aleksejevs "laying on his stomach with his face down. He was not moving and his face was very blue.”

Mr Korotkins, who had worked with Mr Aleksejevs on numerous occasions, made an emergency call to the deceased’s disbelieving younger brother, who thought he was making a joke.

PC Shubrook of Northamptonshire Police was on duty on Wednesday, November 9 and arrived at the ‘In and Out’ Garage on Towcester Road at 10am where Igor was waving him down and proceeded to lead the officer to the body.

In his statement read out to the inquest, PC Shubrook said he was satisfied that there were no “suspicious circumstances.”

Mr Aleksejevs was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency services that day.

Earlier in 2016 he had lived and worked with this brother, Sergejs, were made unemployed and declared homeless.

Mr Aleksejevs was a former construction worker in Latvia and moved to the UK for deployment reasons. His brother, his only sibling, followed.

In a narrative verdict read out to the court, coroner Hassan Shar said the cause of death was synthetic cannabinoid toxicity - related to the Mamba drug - and alcohol intoxication, exacerbated by hypothermia.

He said: "All three factors are likely to be significant, probably acting together."

A regulation 28 report on how future deaths can be prevented at the camp is to be filed by the coroner.

Coroners have a legal power and duty to write a report following an inquest if it appears there is a risk of other deaths occurring in similar circumstances.

The report is sent to the people or organisations who are in a position to take action. They then must reply within 56 days to say what action they plan to take.