Stressed medical student died after taking heroin overdose

Oxfordshire Coroner's Court

Oxfordshire Coroner's Court

First published in News

A POSTGRADUATE medical student died from a heroin overdose after he turned to the drug to cope with the stress of his studies, a coroner heard yesterday.

Paul Robertson was conducting pioneering research into Parkinson’s Disease and was just months from being awarded his doctorate when he was found dead at his home in Oxford.

The 26-year-old, who was on a scholarship at Christ Church, suffered from severe anxiety and insomnia due to pressure he put on himself to succeed, an inquest heard.

His girlfriend, Sophie Bocksberger, discovered him slumped in a chair in the bedroom of his Cripley Road flat at 7.30pm, on May 18.

A statement read on her behalf said rigor mortis had set in and there was a used syringe in the academic’s right arm, with a spoon and other drug equipment nearby.

She said: “He placed a lot of pressure on himself and he was something of a perfectionist.

“He had high expectations of himself.”

Miss Bocksberger said she was aware her boyfriend had started using heroin in August last year, but he was not an addict who took the drug every day.

A post mortem examination toxicology test revealed a “very high” morphine level of 1,006mg per litre of blood – almost three times the recognised fatal level.

Alison Thompson, assistant coroner for Oxfordshire, recorded a verdict of a drug related death.

She said: “There is absolutely no suggestion he intended to harm himself. This was clearly an unintended outcome.”

  • Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed

Our top stories

One lane closed southbound on M40 near Bicester after crash

Oxford Mail: Lorry jackknifes on M40 causing traffic tailbacks

1:38pm Friday 27th February 2015

ONE lane of the M40 southbound has closed after an accident.

I have no hard feelings against Oxford United, says former U's boss Gary Waddock

Oxford Mail:

11:00am Friday 27th February 2015

GARY Waddock says he feels no bitterness towards Oxford United as he prepares to face the club for the first time since being sacked last summer.

Banbury-born Gary Glitter jailed for 16 years for abusing schoolgirls

Oxford Mail:

11:57am Friday 27th February 2015

Gary Glitter has been jailed for 16 years for a string of historic sex attacks on three schoolgirls.

U-turn as leader says decision to axe council chief ‘hasty’

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Friday 27th February 2015

THE decision to axe the top job at Oxfordshire County Council will be reviewed after its leader admitted he rushed it through.

Road users beware as £3m cut from the repair budget

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Friday 27th February 2015

MOTORISTS and cyclists will face bone-shaking journeys on county roads after cuts of nearly £3m in the road maintenance budget were approved.

Town Hall will fly rainbow flag in support of LGBT

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Friday 27th February 2015

A RAINBOW flag will today fly from the town hall in Oxford to mark the 10th anniversary of LGBT month.

 

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree