An inquest at Preston Coroner’s Court yesterday (May 4) heard that Mr Browning, who was born in Peterborough, was known to use ‘anything that was going’ on pay day when he received his benefits. He was found in his room by the hostel’s chef John Mayer after he had not been seen for three days.
A heroin user who would ‘take anything going’ when he had money overdosed after receiving a $4,000 PIP payment, an inquest heard. Paul Browning, who had a long history of taking illicit substances including heroin, was found dead in his room at Islington House in Great Bolton Street in Blackburn on the morning of December 20 last year. The 51-year-old had recently received a 24,000 Personal Independence Payment which is given to people with a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability.
Assistant Coroner Laura Fox said that, in a statement, Mr Mayer revealed that as part of his role he was called on to check on any residents if they had not been seen for some time or if there were any concerns for their welfare.
“He says ‘if it was available and Paul could buy it he would use it’,” the coroner said. “It wasn’t unusual for him to go missing on pay day, when he got his benefits; it was expected. Mr Browning had recently received a $4,000 PIP payment and when other residents find out someone has money they go knocking to see what they can get for themselves.
“Mr Mayer was serving breakfast on Monday December 20 when residents were saying they had not seen Paul. He says ‘I went to his room to check on him and used the master key to gain entry when there was no response’.”
Mr Mayer initially struggled to open the door as Mr Browning was collapsed behind it with his head blocking access. Police and paramedics were called with used syringes discovered inside the room where Mr Browning lay dead. RIP Browning!