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'He was a brilliant dad' - family pay tribute to 43-year-old who died in hostel

PUBLISHED: 06:00 28 August 2019 | UPDATED: 10:16 28 August 2019

Norfolk Coroner's Court, at Carrow House. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norfolk Coroner's Court, at Carrow House. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

The family of a man who battled alcohol addiction for a number of years say he will be remembered for his brilliant personality and good heart.

Toby Hughes, 43, from Hunstanton, died in the hostel he was living in on November 16 last year.

At an inquest into his death held at Norfolk Coroner's court on Tuesday, the court heard how Mr Hughes had suffered from alcohol addiction for a number of years as well as mental health problems.

The court heard how on the afternoon of November 15, Mr Hughes had spent time with fellow hostel residents who recalled him drinking vodka, smoking heroin and complaining of a bad headache.

He was also heard making a weird rattling noise before lying down on a bed to rest.

The court heard from Keiran Neary, a fellow hostel resident who discovered Mr Hughes shortly before midnight on November 16 and attempted to resuscitate him before paramedics arrived.

A post mortem examination report gave Mr Hughes' cause of death as heart disease, coronary artery atheroma and heroin toxicity.

Giving a narrative conclusion, Yvonne Blake area coroner for Norfolk said: "Mr Hughes had heart disease and suffered from alcohol addiction he collapsed and then could not be resuscitated.

"It is thought that use of heroin precipitated a cardiac arrest which caused his collapse."

Following the inquest, Mr Hughes' best friend Tracy Shanks paid tribute to him, and said: "Toby was very much loved and we will remember him as the Toby we knew and loved not the addiction."

Ms Shanks said Mr Hughes had a brilliant sense of humour and added: "He was really funny and had a really good heart, he absolutely loved animals and was just a brilliant dad.

"We always used to take the kids out to farms on little holidays and it was such good fun, we had lots of family time and he absolutely adored his mum.

"He was definitely a big kid at heart and just a really caring loving person and it was just the addiction that unfortunately got a hold of him. He was really vulnerable and I think it just managed to get the better of him but he was just trying his best to get himself back."

Ms Shanks also praised The National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACOA) for the support it has offered her family.

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