A ‘HIGHLY-regarded’ man who died was a church leader for The Salvation Army died after a drug relapse, an inquest has heard.

Paul Devine, who was a trainee Salvation Army officer, was found dead at his home address in Heyford Hill Lane, Littlemore on February 13 this year.

The 58-year-old cadet was self-detoxing from drugs at the time after a recent relapse. A post-mortem examination was carried out and the medical cause of death has been provided at bronchopneumonia and multi-drug toxicity.

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It was heard that the drugs may have caused a respiratory failure due to the drugs and a respiratory tract infection.

Speaking at an inquest into his death at Oxford Coroner’s Court on Wednesday (May 8), his wife Alex described Mr Devine as a ‘good husband and father’ who was ‘highly-regarded’ by those who knew him.

“He was a good husband and father,” she said. “I looked after me and my daughter wonderfully.”

It was heard that over 200 people attended his funeral in Abingdon the following month, which was streamed online.

People wore orange and the wreath was orange as Mr Devine was from Dundee and a fond Dundee United supporter.

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Mrs Devine said during the funeral that she had received lots of messages about how her husband had helped people not just working at ADAPT, a drug rehabilitation charity, but all different people.

During the inquest, it was heard that Mr Devine had recently suffered from some spinal injuries which may have become agitated when he ran the London Marathon in 2023.

It was noted that he started taking codeine for the pain which may have been a ‘slippery slope’ for the cadet, leading to a relapse.

His death was verified his death at 10.47pm and police noted there was no drug paraphernalia found in the home.

A post-mortem examination revealed he had ‘medium levels’ of cocaine and codeine and low levels of sertraline, diazepam and morphine in his blood.

Senior coroner Darren Salter said: “This isn’t a case where there is a massive overdose of a drug or drugs.

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“The findings were moderate levels of several drugs but there is the issue of the combined effects of them.”

His partner added that she didn’t believe Mr Devine would have intended to take his own life, despite a history of anxiety.

Concluding the inquest, Mr Salter said: “This is a sad case where it’s clear Paul had done a great deal to turn his life around, if that’s the right phrase, and achieve things and was highly regarded in the work he did – that much is clear.”