A man who feared leaving his home after being 'cuckooed' and later assaulted by a gang died after becoming unwell, a court has heard. 

Ivan Betson, 53, of Riverside Road in Gorleston, near Great Yarmouth, had been receiving support for drug misuse when he became ill.

At an inquest into his death, his GP confirmed that he had been diagnosed with mental and behavioural disorder due to past use of crack cocaine and his dependence on opioids.

At the time of his death, he was being supported by the substance abuse service Change Grow Live (CGL) which had carried out a full risk review on March 27.

A statement from CGL, read out to Norfolk Coroner's Court, said: “Mr Betson reported he had been assaulted by a gang the previous week [before he died], which he believed to be linked to an incident where he had been cuckooed previously.

“He stated the matter had been reported to the police and he reported feeling anxious about leaving his property as he understood the perpetrators had been released from custody." 

Cuckooing involves criminal gangs exploiting vulnerable people by taking over their homes, usually to store or steal drugs.

The court also heard how he had cuts, bruises, and was pale and breathless with shallow fast breathing when he saw CGL staff.

He was advised to seek medical attention but refused. 

The report added: “His death was not expected.”

The day after Mr Betson was assessed by CGL, on March 28, he arrived at the emergency department at the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston at 8.48pm, having gone into cardiac arrest in the back of the ambulance. 

He was pronounced dead at 20.58pm. 

READ MORE: Body of 25-year-old found just metres away from his home

READ MORE: Parents' heartfelt tribute to son who died after 'one-off' night of drinking

Samantha Goward, area coroner for Norfolk, commented on CGL’s “outstanding practice” at the inquest into Mr Betson’s death on November 28. 

Ms Goward said: “Mr Betson sadly had a history of misuse of substances, which contributed to his death, but there were also clearly some underlying heart and lung abnormalities.” 

She recorded s short narrative conclusion stating that he died due to a combination or drug toxicity and heart and lung abnormalities.