A dad-of-four was found dead in a building site portable cabin after a fellow rough sleeper raised the alarm.
Jason Milward’s lifeless body was discovered at the Sky building development, in Newcastle town centre, surrounded by drug paraphernalia.
Officers found the 47-year-old in the disused workers’ cabin and he was ‘lying on a needle’.
Now an inquest has concluded that the former window-cleaner’s death on April 2 last year was drug-related.
In a statement read out at North Staffordshire Coroner’s Court, Jason’s mum Eileen Milward said her son had started to take drugs at the age of 19.
He spent years living on the streets and his drug use resulted in a heart operation in January 2019 after he was found ‘collapsed in the street in the middle of winter’.
Eileen said: “Jason left at 19, I asked him to leave as he had started taking drugs. I gave him food and furnished houses he lived in and paid off his debts.
“He spent years on the streets in and around Stoke-on-Trent and the Midlands. One day he knocked on my door and said he was living a short distance away and I started to see him.
“He went into hospital in January 2019. I went to visit him, he didn’t look well and he had heart surgery.”
The inquest heard Eileen last saw her son on March 21 last year. He had been discharged from hospital and got a room at The George Hotel, in Burslem.
Jason had been admitted to the Royal Stoke University Hospital on January 19, 2019. He was diagnosed with endocarditis and sepsis and underwent an aortic valve replacement two days later.
Police were alerted to Jason’s body when a friend went to Newcastle Police Station on April 2.
The Brunswick Street building site was not secured when police attended.
PC Stephen Maigh said: “I attended a report of a deceased man. It was a building site with a few portable buildings. We entered one of the portable buildings which had been left unsecured with a PCSO and two ambulance staff.
“Inside the cabin was a man on the floor who we now know to be Jason Milward. On the floor were various items of drug paraphernalia, including needles. The PCSO recognised Jason.”
A post-mortem examination gave the cause of death as bronchopneumonia, aortic valve heart disease (operated) and widespread thromboembolic disease.
Concluding a drug-related death, assistant coroner Sarah Murphy said: “A toxicological report detected two substances derived from morphine, but they did not pose a risk of toxicity. A post-mortem examination says the death was contributed to by the aortic valve heart disease which was operated on.
“It is therefore a drug-related death as the operation was necessary due to his drug use.”