A YORK man who died in prison partway through his trial had taken a “cocktail of drugs” including the synthetic cannabis drug known as spice and cocaine, an inquest heard.

Paul Michael Brolly, 31, was found unconscious in his cell at HMP Leeds on May 23, 2017, said Coroner Jonathan Leach.

Despite efforts by prison officers, nurses and paramedics he was declared dead at 4.15pm.

Two prison nurses said that early that morning they had declared him “unfit to travel” to Leeds Crown Court, where he was standing trial.

He was slurring his speech, was unsteady on his feet, had pin prick pupils and appeared to be high on some kind of drug, the inquest heard.

The prison’s primary care manager Jennifer Swinnerton said: “We have to have a good reason to hold up the justice system. It was very, very rare we would not send anyone to court. It had to be a very good reason.”

Home Office pathologist Kirsten Hope, who carried out a post mortem on Mr Brolly, said: “Paulie had taken a cocktail of drugs, including his own prescribed medication, which may have caused his death."

The former Archbishop Holgate School pupil, dog lover and gym enthusiast, also known as Paul Rishworth, is being called Paulie throughout the inquest at Wakefield Coroner’s Court.

In his report toxicologist Steve Morley, of the University of Leicester, said he found traces of spice and cocaine in Mr Brolly’s body, as well as four medicines including diazepam.

Dr Hope said Mr Brolly had been prescribed drugs for depression, anxiety and another condition, but she was unaware if he had been prescribed diazepam.

She could not say when he had taken the spice or cocaine.

The jury heard prison staff had given Mr Brolly his prescribed medication earlier that day.

The nurses denied suggestions from Mr Brolly’s family that they had been unwilling to go into his cell when he was found unconscious on May 23 because they didn’t feel safe, or that there had been delays in getting him medical attention. They said a prison officer was already in the cell when they arrived.

Prison officer Vincent Doran said Mr Brolly did not appear ill when he returned complaining to his cell in “D1” after seeing the nurses on May 23.

As he was transferred to “D4” at midday, he was greeted by several prisoners. “He was obviously well-known and well liked by other prisoners,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Leach said the jury would hear evidence that Mr Brolly refused to come out of his cell for lunch.

He had been in prison since August 17, when he was recalled partway through a six-year sentence.

The inquest continues.