Ripon rugby player died from cocaine toxicity, inquest concludes

The girlfriend of a man who died from cocaine toxicity was a "doting dad" trying to beat his drug addiction, an inquest in North Yorkshire has heard.

Ashley Plant, 37, from Ripon, had been released from prison a month before his death last December and had "found God", the coroner's inquest was told.

His partner, Rebecca Jack, said "he was really well thought of".

Mr Plant's death was drug-related, the inquest at Northallerton Coroner's Court concluded on Tuesday.

The court had earlier heard that Mr Plant was found to have a level of cocaine associated with fatality when he was found unresponsive by his parents in his flat in Ripon on 12 December 2023.

'Addictive personality'

His mother Diane Plant said in a statement that her son had "been out on Saturday and Sunday night before his death" and was feeling unwell a couple of days later on the day he died.

Ms Plant added that she had told her son to "try to go and get some sleep", but they ended up calling the police later on when they could not get hold of him and he was pronounced dead at 10:17 GMT.

She went on to tell the inquest that her son had an "addictive personality" and had suffered with anxiety.

His personality changed when he was 17 after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but he eventually "found God and was so helpful at church", Ms Plant said.

Mr Plant's GP told the court his patient had had a history of drug use and started taking cannabis and ecstasy at 16 years old, before later starting to take cocaine.

'Proud dad'

Coroner Jon Heath said that after being released from prison in November 2023, Mr Plant was referred to North Yorkshire Horizons, an adult drug and alcohol recovery service, where he attended two thirds of his appointments.

Mr Heath concluded that Mr Plant's death was drug-related and that he had died from acute cocaine toxicity.

Speaking to the BBC following the conclusion of the inquest, Ms Jack said Mr Plant had been trying to turn his life around in the weeks before his death.

He had received a lot of support with his drug recovery from Ripon Rugby Club, where he was a player, she said.

"He was a lovely, kind person and a proud dad who absolutely doted on his son, Jude," she added.

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