Norfolk man, 25, died while travelling on Spanish island, inquest hears

PUBLISHED: 13:52 19 May 2020

General view of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, the city Thomas Bourke was living in Picture: Thomas Cook/Agneta Renebo

General view of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, the city Thomas Bourke was living in Picture: Thomas Cook/Agneta Renebo

Thomas Cook

A “generally fit and well young man” died with a concoction of substances in his system while travelling on a Spanish island, an inquest has heard.

Thomas Bourke, 25, was squatting in an abandoned shopping centre in Gran Canaria when he died last November, where he and close friend Chris Purdy would entertain holiday-makers by blowing bubbles in the street.

Mr Bourke, of Robins Lane, Reepham, had briefly settled in the resort of Las Palmas on the Spanish island, having been travelling after studying a degree at the University of Birmingham.

He was joined by close friend Mr Purdy, who told the hearing through a statement how the pair would “busk blowing bubbles” - and how he had fought to bring him around on the day of his death.

In a statement read out by area coroner Yvonne Blake, Mr Purdy told how he had gone to visit his friend at the resort for a short period, but opted to stay longer. The pair then stayed in a squat along with a group of other travellers of varying nationalities.

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In it, he said that on the day Mr Bourke died he had been out and returned to find his friend unresponsive. He said he had been “in very high spirits” earlier that day.

He said: “I tried to shake him but he would not wake up. On realising he was dead I them immediately phoned the police.

“He was one of my closest friends and was very sporty. Every time we met up it was a bit of a party.”

On learning of her son’s death, Samantha Bourke, his mother, travelled to the island in a bid to learn more about the circumstances, along with her partner and another of his friends.

In an emailed statement, Mrs Bourke, a nurse, said: “We had a close and loving relationship.”

Toxicity evidence given showed Mr Bourke had a number of different substances in his system when he died, including alcohol, marijuana and various forms of medication.

Giving a conclusion that Mr Bourke had died a drug-related death, Ms Blake said: “He was a generally fit and well young man. It appears having found pills and not knowing what they were the group [he was with] took them and unfortunately for him it was fatal.”

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