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Overdose victim lay in Watford Burger King toilet for six hours
A mother paid tribute to her "funny and clever" son today, who died of a heroin overdose in a Burger King in Watford.
Russell Crane, a plumber from West Watford, was discovered in the toilet cubicle by staff at the fast food chain in High Street six hours after he passed away.
The recovering addict had been clean for a period before relapsing and taking a "potentially fatal" dose, an inquest heard today.
His mother Dawn Crane said: "He was so caring and sensitive. Whenever he’d see us he’d give us a massive hug. He had a great job and a lovely flat. He had two children who he loved so much. This is just such a massive shock for all of us."
Two of Mr Crane’s sisters also attended the inquest and described Mr Crane as "funny, witty and clever".
The tragedy comes after Ms Crane lost another of her five sons, Jason Crane, in a car accident just 17 months before the death of Russell Crane.
She said: "I can’t describe how I feel. It’s just disbelief, it’s horrible. We are such a close knit family the lot of us."
Ms Crane added that she was angry it had taken so long for staff to find her son.
She said: "I am disgusted that my son was left in that toilet for six hours and no one even noticed. I just don’t understand how it could have happened."
CCTV footage showed Mr Crane, of Copperdale Court, The Gateway, entering the restaurant at 2.13pm during the lunchtime rush and walking upstairs to the men’s toilets without purchasing any food.
Burger King staff had finally knocked on the locked cubicle door when they were trying to close the restaurant that evening. They then notified the assistant manager, David Pawlak, when they got no reply. Mr Pawlak told the inquest he climbed over the top of the cubicle and saw Mr Crane.
The 34-year-old had a history of drug addiction but his psychiatrist, Dr Weis Ravi, who saw Mr Crane on December 23, told the inquest "there was no sign he was using illicit drugs at the time".
Toxicology reports stated that Mr Crane had taken a potentially fatal dosage of heroin and there was a small amount of the anti-anxiety drug diazepam in his blood stream. The combination of the two increased the probability of death, the report concluded.
Dr Ravi told the inquest that because Mr Crane had not taken illicit drugs for months before his death his body would no longer have been able to tolerate the dose that proved fatal.
Coroner Edward Thomas recorded the cause of death as misadventure.
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