A "caring, intelligent and ambitious" research scientist, who died in a café, suffered from a heart condition, an inquest has heard. 

An inquest into the death of Sebastian Fairhead was held at Suffolk Coroners’ Court in Ipswich on Tuesday.

Mr Fairhead was 35 when he died on May 11 last year, having been taken ill at the BLD Restaurant and café, in The Guineas Shopping Centre, in Newmarket.

A statement written by Mr Fairhead’s wife, Maria, was read before the court by Senior Coroner for Suffolk, Nigel Parsley.

The couple met while both studying for their Master’s degrees in 2011. Mr Fairhead was, she said, a caring, intelligent and ambitious man. However, his behaviour began to change during the first year of Covid.

Mr Fairhead struggled with addiction, the court heard. His alcohol consumption greatly increased during the pandemic, and he began taking several other drugs, including codeine, Xanex and heroin.

This put much strain on Mr Fairhead’s relationship with his wife, and they made the decision to separate at the end of 2022.

Mr Fairhead checked into rehab more than once and received support from Alcoholics Anonymous, but continued to struggle with addiction.

On May 5, 2023, staff at the Rookery Medical Centre in Newmarket persuaded Mr Fairhead to attend A&E at West Suffolk Hospital when he came to collect a prescription for quetiapine, as they were concerned he seemed “not with it”.

On May 11, Mr Fairhead again visited the surgery to collect medication. Staff again asked him if he was alright, but Mr Fairhead said that he was busy and needed to get home.

A short time later, paramedics were called to the café below the surgery, where Mr Fairhead had been taken ill.

Mrs Fairhead expressed frustration that her husband had been allowed to leave the surgery.

She also said that, given his addiction, she felt his medication should have been distributed to him in smaller amounts daily.

Dr Mamtha Kumar, a GP at the surgery, explained that this was something they could do, but that he was not frequently requesting medication, which would have raised alarm. She also said that he had mental capacity to refuse to speak with a doctor or to attend hospital again.

A post-mortem showed that Mr Fairhead died from a condition called myocarditis, an inflammatory condition of the heart.

Dr Iwona Kaminska, a consultant histopathologist at West Suffolk Hospital, explained that this was likely caused in part by a viral infection, such as flu, a cold, or Covid, and partly by drug use.

Mr Parsley returned a narrative conclusion. He found that Mr Fairhead died as the result of a cardiac condition linked to a viral infection and drug dependency.

He ended proceedings by offering his own condolences to Mr Fairhead’s family.