Homeless man 'called out for mother' before death

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Kane WalkerImage source, Helping the Homeless in Birmingham
Image caption,
Kane Walker was found by paramedics in Pershore Street

A homeless man who collapsed in the street called out for his mother before his death, an inquest heard.

Kane Walker, 31, was found to have taken a fatal dose of heroin during a night on the streets of Birmingham city centre.

A friend said he appeared to be delirious and in the grip of a breakdown before he was treated by paramedics.

A coroner said previous attempts to support Mr Walker "did not bear fruit".

Senior coroner for Birmingham and Solihull Louise Hunt said help was offered, but he had not fully engaged with services.

In a statement, Friend Mark Eccleshane, who was with Mr Walker in the hours before he died, said he had been struggling to breathe.

He also recalled Mr Walker calling for his mother, who had died some years before.

An advanced nurse practitioner, Sue McCutcheon, who works with a team supporting homeless people, said she repeatedly tried to help him with his mental health problems.

She said in spring 2018 a place was found for him in a hostel and his condition seemed to improve. But he later left and returned to the streets.

Ms McCutcheon said Mr Walker had been treated in hospital for problems with kidneys, but he discharged himself.

Three days before he died, hospital medics asked the street work team to try to find him because he had missed appointments.

Pathologist Dr Gerald Langman said toxicology reports showed he had taken a quantity of heroin that would have been fatal for any user, however regular.

Dr Langman said there were traces of cocaine and the synthetic cannabis drug known as Black Mamba. He said an infection in his lungs suggested pneumonia was a contributory factor in his death.

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