Tom Maynard inquest

Maynard had drugs, alcohol in system

George Dobell

February 26, 2013

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Tom Maynard top scored with 39, Surrey v Warwickshire, The Oval, May, 23, 2012
Tom Maynard died in June 2012 after a night out with Surrey team-mates © Getty Images
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Tom Maynard, the former Surrey batsman who died in an incident on the London Underground last year, had significant levels of alcohol and traces of illegal drugs in his system at the time of his death, an inquest in London was told.

Maynard, who was 23 at the time, was found on the tracks near Wimbledon Park tube station in the early hours of June 18. He had been pulled over by an unmarked police car after "driving erratically" but subsequently abandoned his car, a black Mercedes, and fled the scene. The inquest on Tuesday heard that Maynard was more than three times over the legal alcohol limit for driving. The jury subsequently returned a verdict of accidental death.

Tests on hair samples revealed evidence of cocaine "consistent with regular or habitual use", as well as traces of MDMA - commonly known as ecstasy - Dr Simon Poole, a forensic pathologist, told the Westminster hearing.

After the verdict was announced, the ECB said that it would be working with the Professional Cricketers' Association to develop out-of-competition testing for recreational drugs. Currently, recreational drugs are only tested for during competition, when they are prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency according to their performance-enhancing properties. The PCA already runs a Personal Development Programme in conjunction with the ECB to help young county players deal with off-field challenges, which is this year being supported by the Tom Maynard Trust.

In a statement, the ECB said: "In the light of today's verdict, ECB and Surrey CCC would like to reiterate that this incident was a terrible human tragedy and again extend our condolences to the Maynard family and to Tom Maynard's many friends and colleagues within the professional game.

"While the ECB accepts that recreational drug use is a part of modern society, we do not condone it and will take all reasonable steps to prevent its use within the game. We also believe we have a responsibility to educate all our players and are committed to supporting any player who needs help in this area."

In summing up, the coroner, Dr Fiona Wilcox, described the entire episode as "absolutely tragic" and recommended that Surrey introduce hair-based drug testing as soon as possible.

Maynard had been on a night out with team-mates Jade Dernbach and Rory Hamilton-Brown and had decided to visit his girlfriend before being stopped at around 4am. He evaded police and was found dead around an hour later, after being hit by an underground train. Dr Poole was unable to say, however, whether the cause of death had been electrocution or the impact of the train. The driver, Martin Hopping, told the inquest that he had seen a body on the tracks, "not fallen but laid down", but was unable to stop in time.

Dernbach, the England bowler, and Hamilton-Brown gave evidence to the inquest in which they said they had at no stage been aware of Maynard taking illegal drugs. His girlfriend, Carly Baker, also said she did not know he had ever taken drugs. Several times she was heard to say the word "disgrace" from the public gallery, in the direction of the police officers.

While Baker said Maynard had sounded "very down, very depressed" when he had called her to say he was coming over, the two players insisted he was in good spirits. "He was his normal bubbly self," Dernbach said.

They did admit, however, that Maynard had been frustrated with himself following an incident in Brighton about 10 days previously. Maynard had been hit by a car while out drinking and had suffered a damaged shoulder and black eye. He had also been disciplined by Surrey following the incident.

Maynard, whose father Matthew played for England and Glamorgan, had been considered a good enough prospect to also play internationally. His family released a statement on Tuesday through the PCA.

The statement read: "The results of the inquest do not define our son. The fact that so very many people thought the world of him is what defines him as a person. The only people who would judge Tom on the findings of the inquest are people who didn't know him. He made choices that night that tragically cost him his life but his devastated family and friends will love and miss him unconditionally always. He was a very special person and his death leaves a huge hole in all our lives."

Gareth Batty, another of Maynard's former Surrey team-mates, and the club's chief executive, Richard Gould, were in attendance at the hearing, as was the PCA chief executive, Angus Porter. Hamilton-Brown, Dernbach and Baker all struggled to fight back tears throughout proceedings.

The effect of the tragedy was significant for Surrey, with several members of a young squad to struggling to come to terms with the loss. Hamilton-Brown, who was Maynard's flatmate at the time, gave up the captaincy and has since left the club, while wicketkeeper Steven Davies, another close friend, has spoken about suffering from depression.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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