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Much-loved Aylsham DJ James “Smitty” Smith died from a drug overdose at his home

PUBLISHED: 12:19 20 June 2014

James Smitty Smith

James Smitty Smith


An Aylsham DJ who was “loved by so many people” spent the night with his friends before dying from a drug overdose at home.

James Smith who died in Aylsham James Smith who died in Aylsham

James Smith, 26, known as Smitty to his friends, was found slumped on a sofa at his Aylsham home on February 1 after falling asleep there the night before, an inquest heard yesterday.

The cause of death was recorded as opiate toxicity, after a postmortem discovered opiates and a mix of other drugs in his system.

Mr Smith, a former Aylsham High School pupil, was well-known in the area for his involvement in the local music and skateboarding/BMX scene.

An inquest heard how Mr Smith, who was described as “the life and soul of the party”, had been out with his friend Matthew Woodhead in Aylsham on January 31 before heading back to his house on John of Gaunt Close where he rented a room from Gareth Barrett-Brown.

Mr Smith had fallen asleep 
on the sofa at about 2.30am to 3am and his friend Mr Woodhead had fallen asleep on a mattress on the floor.

In a statement read out at yesterday’s inquest, Mr Woodhead said he had tried to wake his friend at 9.30am but could not rouse him.

He said: “I tried to wake him but he wouldn’t wake up.

“I grabbed him but he wouldn’t wake up. He didn’t seem anything other than fast asleep.”

Believing he was fast asleep, Mr Woodhead left the house and went into the town centre.

Mr Barrett-Brown went into the living room where Mr Smith was just after 4pm, and saw him slumped in a similar position on the sofa.

He said: “I tried to wake him up and checked his pulse. I started to panic. It didn’t cross my mind he was dead.”

Mr Barrett-Brown phoned a friend of Mr Smith’s who went to the house and called an ambulance. Paramedics confirmed he had been dead for some time.

Speaking outside Norwich Coroners’ Court yesterday Mr Smith’s mother Audrey said he was loved by many people. She said: “He was a good kid he just made a mistake.

“We didn’t realise it was quite to the level it was.”

Assistant coroner Johanna Thompson said police were satisfied there was no evidence of third party involvement.

She said: “Sadly Mr Smith’s death was drug-related. My sympathy goes out to his family.”

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