Andrew Shenton, 47, of Norton, Stoke-on-Trent, died of a drugs overdose after beating his mum so severely she had to be hospitalised, and amid fears he’d been kidnapped
Image: Stoke-on-Trent Live WS)
A “proud junkie” who battered his own mum was found dead from a drug overdose at home days after it was feared he’d been kidnapped, an inquest heard.
Andrew Shenton’s body was found by police after they forced their way into the home he shared with his mum Susan Grocott in Norton, Stoke-on-Trent.
The 47-year-old was surrounded by drugs paraphernalia on a mattress on the floor of a bedroom alongside a Staffordshire bull terrier.
There was no evidence the dog had begun eating him, the hearing was told, reports StokeonTrentLive.
Prior to his death, Andrew’s neighbor had reported seeing him being “removed from the house with force” on February 26 last year.
They had not seen him since and called the police, who then attended the address in Harrison Road on March 1.
Susan was in hospital at the time after Andrew, in desperate need of money for a fix, struck her multiple times and strangled her with a dog chain until she passed out.
She said her son had been frequently violent towards her and had made her life hell since moving back in with her around 10 years ago.
Stoke-on-Trent Live WS)
The unnamed neighbor declined to give a statement to the police but spoke at the inquest.
They said: “He was forced into a dark car. There was a lot of struggling and swearing.”
In a statement, Staffordshire Police said officers arrived at the address but couldn’t see inside because the curtains were closed.
They used bolt cutters and a key safe to gain entry and Andrew was found dead in the bedroom.
It continued: “The room was untidy. It didn’t appear there had been a struggle. There was a single mattress lying on the floor. The deceased was lying on the mattress.
“He was either lying down by choice or had collapsed.”
Susan said due to her son’s reputation he began going by her last name of Grocott.
She described him as healthy until he turned eight when she and his father separated.
“There was domestic violence but he was not violent to Andrew,” she explained, adding the boy lived with his dad and saw her on weekends.
Susan went on to say Andrew began glue-sniffing at the age of 11.
She urged him to quit but he “just did what he wanted” and eventually stopped coming round.
A few years went by and she learned he was in prison.
Later, he introduced his mum to a woman he had moved in with and said he would marry.
But when that relationship ended, he asked if he could move back in with her and she agreed.
Susan said it was the “biggest mistake” she had ever made as he got back in with his old friends and started taking drugs.
At the time, Andrew was 36 and he lived with his mother until he died.
“Things went terrible,” Susan explained.
“He was then selling them and keeping the money he made to buy more drugs. He claimed my pension and bank cards. He took control of all the money I had.”
The inquest heard Andrew forced his mother to take equity out on the house, to sell it, and then to take out loans to fund his drug habit.
He then beat her up and put her into hospital, where she was when he died.
Susan said she began living off money from family and friends.
Andrew pressured her to sell her home because “people knew where he lived.”
“A man came and said he would kill Andrew when he found him,” she said.
“Andrew took whatever he could get his hands on and was proud of it.
“He said ‘I am a junkie and always will be and I am proud of it.’
“I was living on toast because I had no money to buy other food. He said everything I owned was his. The last time I saw him was 10.30pm on Saturday, February 23.
“He had run out of drugs and was telling me to get more money.
“He backhanded me six or seven times and put a dog chain around my neck. He hit me again and again until I passed out. I told everyone I had just gone dizzy and fallen.
“I was too scared to tell anyone what had happened.
“It was when I knew he was dead I told people what had really happened.
“He had a drugs problem and all he cared about was getting more drugs. He didn’t care about me – that’s all I was worth to him.”
A toxicology report showed Andrew had ethanol, zopiclone, alpha PHP, codeine and morphine in his blood.
The pathologist said: “The morphine level was astronomically high. It was given with or without consent.”
Concluding the death was drugs related, assistant coroner Daniel Howe said: “The toxicology showed an extremely high level of morphine and pregabalin. It was opiate and pregabalin toxicity with a pulmonary embolism.
“He took an overdose which resulted in toxicity.
“There was no evidence of forced entry or injury so there is insufficient evidence for unlawful killing,” he added.