Coroner’s accusations after drug death in Penrith flat

Date: Friday 7th July 2017
Joleane Lawton, who died from a drugs overdose at the age of 31.
Joleane Lawton, who died from a drugs overdose at the age of 31.

A CORONER has accused a key witness of “cleaning the scene” to get rid of “incriminating evidence” after a woman collapsed and died of a drug overdose in his Penrith flat.

Joleane “Jo” Lawton, aged 31, was pronounced dead by paramedics at 1-30am on 19th April last year at the Foster Street home of Simon Riddick.

Police could not find any needles, heroin or signs of preparations for injection, the two-day inquest in Cockermouth was told.

There was a strong smell of bleach in the flat and a mop and bucket full of dirty water. Coroner David Roberts said it led him to believe there was a possibility that Mr. Riddick “cleaned the bathroom after some event there that evening.”

Mr. Riddick, aged 43, insisted that Miss Lawton must have taken drugs elsewhere before arriving at his home at 12-25am. He told the coroner he was telling the “100 per cent. truth”.

The coroner recorded a verdict that Miss Lawton died of “misadventure”.

Full story in Saturday's paper