The "knowledgeable, capable and caring people" working for a local addiction charity have been praised for their “magnificent work” at the inquest into the death of an "exemplary" recovering drug user who sadly relapsed on “one fatal occasion”.
Paul David William Le Geyt died as a result of cocaine usage and pneumonia on 17 June 2022 at Silkworth Lodge, a residential rehabilitation house for people who are affected by drug and alcohol addiction.
An inquest into his death this morning heard that Mr Le Geyt had voluntarily checked himself into Silkworth Lodge the previous day due to a relapse during which he used cocaine. Prior to this, he had been clean for three years and nine months after a long battle with drug addiction.
Mr Le Geyt had been receiving help from Silkworth since September 2021, when he was released from prison and was determined to turn his life around.
During the inquest, he was praised as an "exemplary" resident of Silkworth. A report from Silkworth read at the inquest described Mr Le Geyt as displaying a “continual desire to stay away from drugs and become a contributing member of society”.
Pictured: The inquest took place at Morier House.
After completing the initial three-month residential programme, Mr Le Geyt moved to the next stage of recovery which involves living in a "halfway house". The charity's report explained that Mr Le Geyt “continued to demonstrate a huge want to be clean” and adhered to all rules as an “amazing role model to his peers”.
Mr Le Geyt was then allowed to move into one of Silkworth's independent flats, where residents still receive support as they seek employment and begin to re-engage with wider society. The report said that Mr Le Geyt "continued to show his gratitude and appreciation for life" and was "successfully becoming independent" with a "zest for life".
It was explained that other Silkworth residents "looked up" to Mr Le Geyt due to his "powerful" journey into recovery.
However, the report described Mr Le Geyt as being "stressed" in last few weeks of his life as he was doing "a lot for other people" and "not putting himself first".
On 15 June 2022, Mr Le Geyt contacted Silkworth around 23:00 to inform them that he had relapsed and taken some cocaine, and it was decided that he would return to Silkworth Lodge in the morning.
The charity's report described Mr Le Geyt as showing "signs of shame and guilt" about his relapse but he was "grateful for the opportunity for help".
Mr Le Geyt was extremely tired when he arrived at Silkworth Lodge as he had very little sleep the previous night and was also suffering from a chest infection. He was left to sleep, though staff members continually checked in on him. Early the following morning on 17 June, a member of staff noticed that he wasn't moving and called an ambulance, but he sadly could not be revived.
In a statement read at the inquest, Mr Le Geyt's mother paid tribute to her son's "ability to light up a room" and said that she was "so proud how of how he was doing everything in his power to get better".
Pathologist Dr Bruce Lyons confirmed that Mr Le Geyt's heart findings were "consistent with cocaine usage" whilst his lungs showed "significant bronchopneumonia".
The States Analyst, Nicholas Hubbard, said that blood testing revealed a level of benzoylecgonine - a substance formed when cocaine is metabolised - "within the range that has been associated with death from cocaine use".
Dr Lyons explained that "cocaine can have a multitude of harmful effects on the body, several of which can be life-threatening". He also said that the type of pneumonia Mr Le Geyt has was fatal in its own right.
Concluding the inquest, Relief Coroner Advocate Cyril Whelan expressed his condolences to Mr Le Geyt's family and praised Silkworth Lodge for their "magnificent work".
He said: "Silkworth is a charity which is known in Jersey for doing magnificent work - it saves lives. We have heard about Paul [Le Geyt]'s relationship with the charity and how he managed to beat his addiction for three years and nine months which, in the context of drug addiction, is a remarkable achievement.
"It is a great pity that on one fatal occasion he relapsed, but Paul's legacy is there for all to see. He has shown by his life in its later stages actually what can be achieved to help people with drug addiction who are prepared to work with knowledgeable, capable and caring people such as are available at Silkworth.
"I think what Silkworth has done for Paul and others should be recognised."
Silkworth helps rebuild lives and families devastated by substance misuse through a range of different services including:
Primary Residential Treatment
Recovery Day Service
You can call Silkworth on 01534 729060, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website to find out more.
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