A homeless man who spoke out against fraudsters posing as beggars to swindle cash from wellwishers died as a result of drug abuse, an inquest heard.
Simon Van Der Hoek, 50, died on December 17 in hospital after being found with sepsis and gangrene following an injury to his leg three weeks before.
He was transferred by ambulance to hospital for a leg amputation, but died before the operation could be done.
Mr Van Der Hoek, who was registered to an address in Pendeford, Wolverhampton, West Mids., had been a drug user for more than two decades.
In 2016 he spoke out against fake beggars after it was revealed one conman was coining in up to £500 a day in Wolverhampton, West Mids.
David Urpeth, Assistant Coroner at the Black Country Coroner’s Court, recorded a conclusion of drug-related death at an inquest on Tuesday (2/1).
He said: “This is another tragic example of the consequences that occur from illicit drug use resulting in loss of young life, which is a tragedy for him and all those he leaves behind.
“I would like to offer my condolences to the family.”
Russell Williams, senior coroner’s officer, said: “He had an ischaemic right leg and gangrene up to his thigh.
“Aimee Kaur, a volunteer at Good Shepherd Ministry in Wolverhampton knew Mr Van
Der Hoek for five years.
“He was a friend as well as client.
“He was an intravenous heroin user and was often found at the canal-side in Wolverhampton.
“They hadn’t seen him for a number of days so went looking for him.
“She found him in one of his usual haunts.
“He had banged his leg three weeks earlier.
“He was transferred to Russells Hall Hospital for a right leg amputation, but he died before that could be done.
“He died from aspiration of gastric contents, sepsis, an ischaemic right leg and intravenous drug abuse.
“The deceased’s mother says her son started using drugs 23 years ago.
“He lost his job and house through that addiction.”
Speaking in 2016 about a male beggar earning up to £500 a day, Mr Van Der Hoek, said: “It’s not right that somebody who isn’t homeless could exploit people like this.
“The only reason I ask for money is so I can eat, not for any other reason at all.
“I don’t ask for anymore than I need. So it’s wrong if there’s someone doing that.”
Verdict: Drug-related death.