Date: 20 Nov 2017
Andre Rudkin died following a heroin overdose after being attacked by drug dealers in his bedsit.
On 7 June 2019 three drug dealers were convicted for grievous bodily harm after it was heard that they had assaulted him shortly before he died and they were each sentenced for between two and three years. They were described as 'county lines' drug dealers and had been supplying drugs in the area from London.
They had assaulted him in his room on 17 November 2017 following a disagreement and it was said that shortly after he took a drug overdose. Neighbours said that they heard sounds of a disturbance and banging noises coming from his room along with screaming and the sounds of a person crying out in pain.
Andre Rudkin was found dead three days later on 20 November 2017.
He had lived in a bedsit in Upper High Street, Taunton which was run by the Taunton Association for the Homeless. When the police examined it they said that it was littered with drug paraphernalia associated with intravenous drug use.
Following the discovery of his body, the police said that they were treating his death as suspicious after the police said that they were concerned about widespread muscular bruising they found on his body and chest. His preliminary post mortem results showed that he had injuries consistent with an assault.
The pathologist said that his injuries would have been painful and that the pain would have been exacerbated by breathing. However, the pathologist added that his injuries would not have been sufficient to account for death although noted that he did not rule out them having a minor effect.
A toxicity report showed that Andre Rudkin had used heroin, methadone and cocaine but could not state exactly when.
The pathologist said 'It is not possible to know when the heroin was taken, but Mr Rudkin may have taken heroin after he sustained these injuries or he might have been injured after he had taken the heroin. If he had taken heroin before he sustained the chest injuries, it is still not possible to say if the effects of heroin made him less able to defend himself against an attack'.
The police said that they had initially treated Andre Rudkin's death as homicide until the pathologist said that he had died from heroin toxicity.
When the Coroner summed up he said, 'I am aware of the sequence of the events leading up to his death but there is nothing to suggest anything other than Mr Rudkin has self-administered the drugs that he has taken. There is no suggestion of any third party being involved in the administration of drugs. His injuries were minor with none or minimal effect and the injuries had not formed a part or necessary component in his death. I will conclude that Andre Rudkin has died from heroin toxicity and I am going to record the conclusion of a drug related death on or about November 20, 2017. Andre Rudkin self-administered methadone, cocaine and heroin, with no intention of harming himself'.