A ROUGH sleeper who was found dead in the car park where he had been staying died from a drug overdose, an inquest has heard.

Colin Underwood was discovered unresponsive by a homeless friend who he had been staying with in an alley in the car park behind The Gym, in Queen Street, Colchester.

Paramedics attended but Mr Underwood’s death was confirmed at 5am on March 21.

A post mortem examination, carried out at Colchester Hospital, found he had died as a result of a multi-drug overdose. A large amount of heroin was found in Mr Underwood’s bloodstream.

An inquest at Chelmsford Coroner’s Court yesterday was told the 31-year-old suffered from depression, schizophrenia and was a known drug user.

Det Insp Colin Bishop said: “Colin had been found behind The Gym by military police officers who were flagged down by another man who had been with him before his death.

“The military police went behind The Gym to administer CPR then the ambulance arrived before he was pronounced dead. From the evidence there was no suggestion of foul play. It seemed just an unfortunate set of circumstances led to his death.

“The other man said at the time he was sleeping rough with Colin at the back of The Gym. He said they smoked a couple of crack pipes together then he went to the shop and on returning Colin collapsed on to the floor.”

Speaking in court, Mr Underwood’s mother said her son had struggled with his mental health for some time.

She said: “He was not just a druggy or a homeless person on the street, he had a wonderful family behind him.

“He must have been deeply disturbed about losing his dad about a year ago.”

She added: “I hope nobody else has to go through this.”

Senior Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray said there was not enough evidence to suggest Mr Underwood had taken his own life or the overdose was an accident and recorded an open conclusion.

She said: “We have not got all the pieces of the jigsaw and we do not quite know what happened in the minutes before he took those drugs. We do not know quite what his state of mind was.”