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Businessman killed by cocaine, says coroner
Published 09/06/14

A BUSINESSMAN suffered a drug-related death from cocaine toxicity, an inquest heard.

Jonathan Lang, 39, who owned KIGI Joinery in Shiplake, was slumped against a cupboard in a pool of his own blood when he was discovered by a friend at his flat in Ancastle Green, Henley, on September 19, 2012.

He was still holding a used syringe and wearing a belt tied around his left arm.

A resumed inquest into Mr Lang’s death was told that on the “balance of probabilities” cocaine toxicity was the cause of death and “most likely” a cardiac arrhythmia, where the heart begins to beat abnormally.

The inquest was adjourned in April last year for further investigation after a toxicology report and post mortem failed to determine a definitive cause of death.

Dc Jonathan Axford, the investigating officer, told Oxford Coroner’s Court on Tuesday that analysis of the syringe found cocaine in both the barrel and plunger as well as the same DNA profile to Mr Lang.

The inquest heard that the last communication from Mr Lang was a 25-second phone call with a “known drug dealer” on September 15.

Dc Axford said he had sent a text message to the dealer, referred to as “JM” at 8.33pm that evening. JM rang back a minute later and then again at 9.20pm.

Consultant pathologist Dr Ben Phillips had told the earlier hearing that the post mortem showed a presence of cocaine but the findings didn’t point to a definitive cause of death from drugs.

On Tuesday, he said that an arrhythmia was the most “likely scenario” and there was nothing to suggest that death had been caused in “any other way” than cocaine toxicity. Coroner Darren Salter read out a statement at the previous hearing by Alex Kay, a friend of Mr Lang, who found his body.

Mr Kay, a technical consultant, of Gravel Hill, Henley, received a text from Mr Lang’s brother Mark on September 19 asking if he had heard from Mr Lang.

Mr Kay called Joseph Crowe, a mutual friend, and the pair drove to Mr Lang’s flat. When there was no answer at the door, Mr Kay entered through a door on the balcony which he knew was often left unlocked.

After finding his friend in the kitchen he called an ambulance.

Dr Chris Langley, from the Bell Surgery, said Mr Lang had no underlying health issues but a report from a previous GP showed he had been using heroin between 1994 and 1996 and was on a methadone programme.

The coroner recorded a verdict of a drug-related death.

He offered his condolences to members of Mr Lang’s family who were at hearing and said: “I can tell he is certainly a much-missed member of the family.”

Mr Lang was a well-known figure in Henley known for his love of fast cars and motor boats. Hundreds of mourners attended his funeral at St Mary’s Church in October 2012.

Published 09/06/14

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