Cov rocker Steve Dullaghan was killed by cannabis, inquest hears

Dullaghan backstage with The Primitives at a Warwick University Summer Ball in the 1980s (Pic by Kieron Hayes)

May 21, 2009

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EIGHTIES indie rocker Steve Dullaghan was killed by a rare cannabis overdose, an inquest has ruled.

Steve Dullaghan, who co-wrote the hit single Crash with his band The Primitives in 1987, was discovered by friends at his home in Radford, Coventry, after failing to show for a poker game.

The 45-year-old was lying in his bed beside a blood stained pillow and a small amount of cannabis.

Dullaghan, who had been living off royalties from the hit single Crash, was found by his friend Kieron Hayes.

Mr Hayes, 45, of Cheylesmore, said: "I saw him on the Friday and found him on the Wednesday.

"A few friends have a poker night on a Tuesday night and he didn’t show for it.

"I went round there on the Wednesday and as I was walking to the door I had this terrible feeling. He didn’t answer so I broke in through the bathroom and found him in the bedroom.

"A few calls had just gone to answer phone and he didn’t return them and he always returned calls.

"We reckon he had probably died on the Saturday."


He added: "We grew up together. He was a lovely guy, generous to a fault. He spent more time looking after other people than himself, he’d bend over backwards to help anyone.

"He was a great guy and I’m not the sort of person to say that about just anyone.

"He didn’t let on that he was in The Primitives. I would have to blow his trumpet for him.

"He was so laid back, he’d say, ‘What was the big deal?’"

The Cabin Studio in Coventry's London Road where The Primitives recorded Crash
A toxicology report revealed he had high levels of cannabis in his blood but no other drug or alcohol.

Pathologist Dr Steve Ferryman, based at University Hospital, Coventry, said in a report: "He possibly experienced one or more of the toxic effects of cannabis at the time of death, a fast heart rate and hyperventilating, and this can lead to heart failure."

Dr Ferryman said this resulted in severe pulmonary oedema – an abnormal build up of fluid in the lungs.

The inquest at Coventry Magistrates' Court heard how Dullaghan had been warned he should stop smoking cannabis.
In a statement his GP Dr Hergeven Dosanjh, of The Jubilee Health Centre, Radford, said the rocker had visited him a month before his body was discovered on February 4 this year.

He stated: "He said he felt slightly out of sorts. He said he was smoking a lot of cannabis and was feeling tired and forgetful.

"I told him to stop taking cannabis."

Dr Dosanjh said Dullaghan suffered from kidney stones but prior to 2005 had not visited a doctor for five years.

Sean McGovern, coroner for Coventry and Warwickshire, recorded a verdict of death due to misuse of drugs.

Steve Dullaghan lived and died at 313 Middlemarch Road, Radford
Dollaghan’s neighbour, Sonia Dhaliwali, 42, was celebrating her birthday when the body was discovered.

She said: "I just broke down.

"He was the perfect gentleman. He was always helping older people around here with their shopping, fixing their fences or gardening for them.

"And he never told anyone he had a gold disc.

"He used to teach the kids around here to play guitar and he’d do it for free."

Dollaghan's song Crash enjoyed further success in 1995 when it was used for the soundtrack of the comedy movie Dumb and Dumber.

The Smith's singer Morrissey named The Primitives as one of his favourite bands and was photographed wearing a band T-Shirt.

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