Father died sleeping rough on city streets after release from prison
PUBLISHED: 15:46 01 April 2019 | UPDATED: 16:11 01 April 2019
An “intelligent and articulate” father and former electrician was found dead on the streets of Norwich after becoming homeless and turning to drugs.
Liam Lynch died in an alleyway off King Street on August 23 last year, four months after leaving Norwich Prison.
He was sleeping rough in the city centre and had turned to crack cocaine.
The 54-year-old had struggled with drug addiction after suffering abuse as a child, Norfolk Coroner’s Court heard.
His daughter Lauren told the court she believed her father had developed PTSD, for which he had never sought help.
Lauren added she had a “complicated” relationship with her father, and ceased contact eventually “because it was upsetting hearing how bad he was”.
The court was read emails Mr Lynch sent to his daughter after she moved to Australia with her mother.
One read: “The illness I have has caused others pain, both emotionally and physically, as such I need a lot of help to deal with my issues.
“I am not suicidal but I would be happy if the ground beneath my feet opened up and swallowed me into the abyss.
“If there is a place called Hell I feel I would belong there.”
In another he wrote: “I got involved with some dodgy people and was smoking crack. I got a bit addicted, spending too much money on it. I need to get away from this.”
By April last year Mr Lynch was “positive about his hopes for the future”, according to a statement on behalf of his family.
But when he was released from prison with nowhere to live he felt “unsupported and let down”, they said.
He had spent four months in Norwich Prison where he had seen the well-being service for ongoing anxiety and depression.
Nicola Brown, well-being practitioner at Hellesdon Hospital, assessed Mr Lynch at the prison in February.
She said he “highlighted difficulties outside prison in the community” as he struggled to keep a routine and neglected himself, adding he “wished to have structure in his life” after his release.
“I did not feel there was any cause for concern for his personal safety,” she said.
But after two months, Mr Lynch had started misusing crack cocaine.
Dr Emily Clark, of City Reach Health Services, said on June 12 he “disclosed a binge on cocaine which he had not done for years”.
He did not attend any further appointments.
Mr Lynch’s family said in a statement he had suffered a “mental and physical decline” after a heart attack two years ago.
“Despite our financial and emotional support he couldn’t get back on his feet,” they said. “He was a highly intelligent and articulate person.”
Mr Lynch was discovered by a local couple at around 2am on August 23, lying in the alleyway leading to Murrell’s Court.
He had a small cut to his head and an unopened can of cider, a crack pipe and a pair of glasses lay beside him.
An investigation was launched after the death, but Det Con Cormac Harrison of Norfolk Police concluded there were no suspicious circumstances.
Mr Lynch was seen on CCTV buying a can of cider at the Rose Lane garage just after midnight before entering the alleyway. He did not emerge again.
“At the time he was of no fixed abode and was reportedly sleeping rough in central Norwich,” Det Con Harrison said.
“Because of the location and frequent presence of drunks anyone who saw him may have thought he was under the influence of drugs or drink so may not have intervened.”
Senior coroner Jacqueline Lake concluded Mr Lynch died of natural causes, contributed to by drug use.