Rush Green dad says ‘half of Essex’ knew of son James Wing’s death on Facebook before family told

James died after taking a mixture of drugs

James died after taking a mixture of drugs - Credit: Archant

The father of a young man who died from an accidental drugs overdose has described the pain of finding out that “half of Essex” knew about the tragedy through Facebook before the family was told by police.

James Wing’s death, four days before his 23rd birthday, was “a tragic waste of a life”, a coroner said at the Rush Green man’s inquest at Walthamstow Coroner’s Court on Wednesday.

He died on August 19 last year, the morning after a night out at a boxing event with friends.

After the hearing, James’s father, David Wing, criticised the handling of his son’s case by Havering Police who he said told the family the force could not spare an officer to act in a family liaison capacity because they were needed at the Olympics.

Mr Wing also said the family struggled to get information out of police.

“All we’ve had since James died was lack of information, misinformation and rumours flying around the community,” he said. “Half of Essex seemed to know about his death before we did through Facebook. The police don’t seem to know what’s going on.”

James, of Gorseway, had a history of drug abuse and related convictions and a post-mortem said death was a result of mixed drug toxicity.

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The court heard James, Darren Hagger, Tommy Westbrooke and Lee Connor headed back to a house in Hornchurch to continue partying after the boxing.

A tearful Darren said: “There were a lot of drugs flying around. I can’t remember James specifically taking any but the night was so confusing.”

Tommy, asleep in one of the bedrooms, said he was awoken by someone screaming on finding James dead on a couch.

Lee Connor was initially arrested on suspicion of murder, but he was never charged.

Coroner Chinyere Inyama recorded a verdict of a drug-related death.

He told the family: “I’m confident there was no third party involvement.”

Mr Wing said after the hearing: “We were hoping the inquest would give us the answers we were looking for, but now I guess we’ll never know.”