Cardiff Met student died in his halls from accidental heroin overdose, inquest hears

Dylan Causero was described as ‘beautiful, clever and funny’

A student at Cardiff Metropolitan University died from an accidental heroin overdose in his halls, an inquest heard.

Dylan Causero, 24, who was originally from Tonyrefail was in his final year of studying for a degree in biomedical sciences with health, exercise and nutrition, was found dead in his room at Liberty Severn Point halls by his mother, Nicola, in December 2021.

The court was been told that he was awarded his degree posthumously.

His mother told the inquest at Pontpridd Coroner’s Court that Dylan had started taking cannabis at around the age of 15 or 16 and that two days before his death, he had had a referral for ADHD, a condition that he believed he had and was already self-medicating for.

The court was also told that he moved from cannabis to other drugs such as cocaine, ketamine, opioids, MDMA, as well as prescription drugs, and in the final few months of his life that he had started using IV heroin.

Cardiff Metropolitan University’s Director of Student Services, Kirsty Palmer explained to the inquest that Dylan had been open about his struggles with addiction to the university when he first joined and that he was offered support by staff.

One of his flatmates also spoke to the court and said: “When I first moved in Dylan mentioned that he had addiction issues” and he was concerned about how Dylan was living his life at the time.

According to the inquest, he was trying to get clean with the help of medical professionals, his family and friends, and university-ran services, which also included a referral to an addiction and mental health charity called EDAS. Speaking to the court, his mother said that it appeared he was getting his life back in order and everyone was overjoyed with his progress.

However, his mother was concerned that Dylan had relapsed after being four weeks sober from heroin. She tried to contact him but could not get through to him so on 17th December, she requested that the university do a welfare check on her son, before she travelled to his accommodation and requested to be allowed into the room the following morning of 18th December 2021.

Rhodri Lennox, a sales and services advisor to students, accompanied Dylan’s mother to her son’s room at approximately 10:30am. They knocked the door but after hearing no response, they entered the room and found Dylan deceased on his chair.

The court heard that a police officer saw drug paraphernalia “strewn around the room” at the scene.

Dylan’s mother paid tribute to him at the inquest, saying: “Dylan, my beautiful, clever, funny boy. We all miss you so very much. We miss your inappropriate humour, your weird but funny comments, the deep conversations, the way you had no filter. Your insane intelligence, your physical presence and strength, your knowledge, your silliness, your cheeky smile and your handsome face. You fought so hard to conquer your demons, you never gave up and we will forever be proud of you. We will love you for eternity with all our hearts.”

She told the inquest that he was a passionate gym-goer and had a rugby career ahead of him. He also enjoyed other activities such as modelling and personal training.

When speaking to the court, pathologist Dr Thomas Hockey said that Dylan’s blood showed the presence of morphine and metabolites, which points to the use of heroin. He explained to the court that his dosage was fatal and that Dylan passed acutely after taking the drug. He concluded that the cause of death was heroin toxicity.

Assistant coroner Gaynor Kynaston then told the inquiry that it was her job to figure out if this was an accidental or intentional overdose. She told the court: “I have not seen any evidence that he intended to bring about his death and it is for that reason I am not going to say suicide. All the evidence points to the opposite, really – he was turning his life around. It is a testament to him that he was given his degree posthumously.”

If you have been affected by any of the themes in this article, you can access help and advice at charities such as Mind, Recovery Cymru and DAN 24/7. 

Featured image via Facebook.

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