A GROUP of friends wanted to continue playing their game of cards after a man was found dead in the same flat.

Oxford Coroner's Court held an inquest yesterday for Owen McTaggart, who died at a flat in Banbury on April 25.

The court heard that the 33-year-old had fallen asleep on a friend's sofa, with a group of men who had been drinking, and never woke up again.

People came in and out of the flat the following day, the court heard, but it took until about 9pm for someone to realise he was cold to the touch and was not asleep.

An ambulance was called and police arrived soon after, and said in their statements that the flat in Jubilee Court was known to be a meeting point for people who used drugs and drink.

In a statement read at the inquest, PC George Dean said: "One of [the men] said 'I'm going to have a last game of cards' and I said 'no, I want everybody out'.

"He had been deceased for some time and many people had been coming and going - nobody had noticed or checked on him."

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Friends thought he was just sleeping through and assumed did not have to go to work that day, the court heard.

The officer's colleague Andrew Ryan's statement added: "He [PC Dean] made the striking observation that those present were keen to continue their game of cards."

Warehouse operator Mr McTaggart, of Bretch Hill in Banbury, had a small amount of heroin in his system when he died.

A toxicologist said the cause of death was likely to be morphine toxicity with aspiration of vomit.

Coroner Darren Salter said although Mr McTaggart had some history of drug use, he was not known to be a habitual heroin user.

Addressing Mr McTaggart's mum in court, he said: "These were very much unexpected circumstances, so it was obviously a great shock."

The court heard how he had been admitted to the Horton Hospital in Banbury a few weeks before, for pneumonia.

Mr Salter concluded a verdict of drug-related death.