A DRUG addict tragically died as he was striving to turn his life around, an inquest has heard.

Sam Taggart was found unresponsive by two friends at a house in Boothfields, Knutsford, on December 21 last year.

The plasterer, of Chapel Street in Northwich, had also been a prolific shoplifter, with 24 previous convictions before his death.

But the 37-year-old was making a fresh start after cutting down his alcohol consumption and landing a new job as a builder in London.

Mr Taggart had collapsed at the Knutsford property hours before his death but had been revived by one of his friends, who carried out CPR.

After placing a pillow under his head and a blanket round him, all three fell asleep, the inquest at Warrington Coroners Court heard on Monday.

When they woke up, 10 hours later, Mr Taggart was ‘blue, cold and stiff’.

Resuscitation efforts to revive him, whilst waiting for an ambulance, failed.

Had emergency services been called the first time he was found unresponsive, the outcome may have been different, the court heard.

Cheshire area coroner Alison Davies said: “Unfortunately, no assistance was called when he stopped breathing the first time.

“This was a missed opportunity to seek medical intervention.”

In written evidence, his sister Cathy Ruff said: “If they had called an ambulance, things might have been different.”

She said her brother was ‘in reasonable health’ at the time and had started a new relationship, that was ‘going well’.

He left his Northwich home, where he lived with his mum, at 7.30am and rang at 10am to say he was OK.

Cathy couldn’t understand how he had started taking drugs again saying ‘something didn’t add up’.

Mr Taggart called at the Knutsford property at 10.30am on December 21, last year, and asked his friends if they wanted to buy drugs.

The pair bought 25 tablets for £50 and said he offered to sell them various other items.

Mr Taggart’s GP Alison Smith gave details of his drug addiction over the past few years.

In a statement, she described him as being ‘anxious and depressed’, alcohol dependent and a misuser of drugs, including heroin.

Mr Taggart had suffered 20 seizures and often complained of ‘hearing voices’, she told the court.

He was referred to the mental health and addiction team.

Elizabeth Ayres, senior manager of Via, a charity providing treatment for people affected by substance misuse, said he had been referred twice over the last two years.

The charity had helped to reduce his addiction through opiate substitutes but he failed to attend appointments.

Police carried out an investigation following his death.

Detective Inspector Neil Doleman concluded there was no evidence of third party involvement.

Assistant forensics toxicology consultant Donna Louise Gray found diazepam, cocaine and opiates in his body.

Drugs like this, she said, could have a depressive effect on the central nervous system and cause respiratory depression.

Cardiac arrest or a seizure may have occurred, the court heard.

A post mortem examination on December 30 found high levels of ethanol, morphine and cocaine in his blood.

The coroner concluded Mr Taggart died from acute respiratory depression due to multi-drug toxicity.

The hearing comes just two months after an inquest into the death of his older brother, Jack.