The 20-year-old son of the boss of fast-fashion firm Boohoo died after accidentally and "naively" taking a fatal dose of morphine at the height of the lockdown, a coroner has ruled.
Louis Lyttle, the son of the online retailer’s chief executive John Lyttle, was found dead at his £1.9million home near Sevenoaks, Kent, at 5am on April 20.
The alarm was raised when he did not start work that morning and paramedics rushed to his house, according to the Kent Messenger. He was just 10 days away from his 21st birthday.
A post-mortem examination showed the 20-year-old had levels of morphine in his bloodstream consistent with overdose in even a long-term user, as well as cocaine, but the court heard he had no history of drug abuse.
A police investigation was unable to find the source of the drugs.
The inquest heard that Mr Lyttle may have experimented with substances at university about a year before he died, but did not have any entrenched addiction problems.
Coroner Alan Blunsdon ruled that as someone who was unused to substances, Mr Lyttle had “naively” taken a lethal dose of morphine.
Recording a conclusion of death by misadventure,Mr Blunsdon said: “(The victim) had a promising career in digital marketing, he was in good health, a member of a loving and supportive family and was standing on the threshold of potentially a very successful future, which he was keen to embrace.
“He was working long hours with a view to promotion, he was an outgoing and promising person who was well regarded by others.”
“What is abundantly clear is that there is no evidence to support a conclusion of Louis intending to cause harm to himself or take his own life.
“I doubt however that Louis understood the effects of morphine on circulation and that it leads to potentially stopping breathing.”
He continued: “This death was in all probability not that of a risk-taker experimenting with substances, nor that of an addict regularly using opioids.
“More probably it was the death of a naive young man who used a high level of substance with catastrophic results.”
The coroner offered his condolences to the victim’s father, who attended the hearing via videolink.
Boohoo was founded in 2006 by entrepreneur Mahmud Kamani and designer and businesswoman Carol Kane.
John Lyttle joined the company in 2019 after a long career in fashion retail, including 10 years as chief operating officer at budget high street chain Primark.
He was among the major voices in the industry who called for a licensing scheme to ensure textile factories are fit to trade, following allegations in July that garment workers manufacturing products for Boohoo in Leicester were paid as little as £3.50 an hour.
Additional reporting by PA Media.