Teacher, right leg amputated due to diabetes, found dead after taking ketamine hears investigation

John Farrell (pictured), former headmaster of Bishop Walsh Catholic School in Sutton Coldfield, was discovered by a friend in a bedroom on August 16

An “inspirational” former headmaster was found dead after using drugs to fight his diabetes, according to an investigation.

John Farrell, former headmaster of Bishop Walsh Catholic School in Sutton Coldfield, was discovered by a friend in a bedroom on August 16.

The ketamine and methamphetamines he had recently been taking had “nudge-offs” his diabetes that led to his death, the Birmingham coroner heard.

Assistant Coroner Ian Dreelan shared how Mr Farrell had dealt with his serious illness and substance abuse in the past.

Dealing with his diabetes became increasingly difficult after his right leg was amputated from diabetes in May 2021, just months before his death, the Birmingham investigation was told on Monday.

Medical professionals had also pointed out his drug use and depression after the life-changing surgery.

Regarding a previous incident, the coroner said, “He clearly had his insulin levels adjusted incorrectly and that led to a very similar incident, but on that occasion he lived to tell the story.

“He struggled to find that balance. He’d been pretty good at dealing with it, but it was getting harder and harder. The amputation had a profound effect on it.

“On August 16, he was found dead by a friend on the floor of a bedroom.”

His autopsy revealed that he “took drugs shortly before he died,” which contributed to complications with his diabetes.

His cause of death was recorded as hypoglycemia caused by diabetes and the use of ketamine and methamphetamine.

Mr. Farrell was Headmaster at Bishop Walsh for ten years and prior to that Assistant Headmaster at nearby St Edmund Campion Catholic School in Erdington.

Both schools are part of the St. John Paul II Multi Academy, where Mr. Farrell served as a Catholic Senior Executive Leader after retiring from Rector at Bishop Walsh.

The ketamine and methamphetamines he had recently been taking had “nudge-offs” his diabetes that led to his death, the Birmingham coroner heard. Pictured: the school

Originally from Sunderland, he moved to the Midlands in 1984 to study history at Birmingham University.

He then completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Education in History, Geography and Sports before becoming a teacher.

The Bishop Walsh Catholic School previously paid tribute to its former headmaster.

A statement said: “Mr. Farrell has made great contributions to thousands of lives in his long and distinguished career. His family is asking for privacy at this point. ‘

Former Bishop Walsh student Paul Fleming said: “Mr. Farrell was an inspiring teacher, a radical Catholic, and an outrageous socialist.

“His heart-on-sleeve humanity made him stand out. Like many of my teachers at Bishop Walsh, I owe him so much. ‘

Michael Baker added, “Heartbreaking. An incredible teacher, headmaster and employer who inspired me to become a teacher. Rest in peace.’

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