Parents pay tribute to 'lovely' son who died unexpectedly

A retired farm worker died at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, an inquest heard. Photo:

A retired farm worker died at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, an inquest heard. Photo: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

The parents of a Dereham man who died following a drug overdose have paid tribute to their son who had "so much to live for". 

Thomas Bradfield, who lived in Rolling Pin Lane and was better known as Tom, died on January 18, 2021, at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

A post-mortem examination revealed the business actuary's cause of death as aspiration pneumonia due to heroin toxicity.

At an inquest on Tuesday (January 11), a statement was read on behalf of Mr Bradfield's parents, David and Sarah Bradfield, who said they were "devastated and heartbroken".

The couple added: "Tom was a lovely, kind and considerate brother and son. 

"His death was totally unexpected and a complete shock to us all.

"This inquest will not help us live with the emotional pain we will carry with us for the rest of our lives.

"We want him to be remembered for all the wonderful things he did - not to be defined by the way he died."

Most Read

The inquest, held at Norfolk Coroner's Court, heard Mr Bradfield, 26, had lived in London before moving back home in 2020.

In an additional statement, David Bradfield said his son suffered from depression and was "not looking after himself".

In Norfolk, he lived in a converted outbuilding, but would spend time with family in the house.

The court heard that, on January 17, 2020, Mr Bradfield woke up feeling unwell and claimed he "couldn't hear" what his family were saying. 

While never knowing his son to take drugs, David Bradfield suspected he had "taken something".

Mr Bradfield later admitted he had taken a substance which arrived in a package the previous day, but his condition seemingly improved.

On the morning of January 18, however, David Bradfield found his son without a pulse and called for an ambulance. 

Paramedics resuscitated Mr Bradfield but he was put on a ventilator and taken to hospital. 

A scan showed there was "no brain activity" and his parents were told the ventilator was keeping him alive. By 3pm, Mr Bradfield had died. 

Police later visited the Bradfields' address and found drug paraphernalia associated with cocaine in the summer house where Mr Bradfield lived.

An investigation concluded that he likely thought he was taking cocaine, rather than heroin.  

David and Sarah Bradfield contended that their son would still be alive were it not for the pandemic, as he would have "accessed help for his mental health". 

Norfolk area coroner Yvonne Blake said Mr Bradfield's death was drug-related.