It took ambulance services more than two hours to transport a man from Helston to Treliske Hospital after he took a fatal overdose, an inquest heard today.

Luke Connolly was a 24-year-old mental health campaigner and journalism student who grew up in Carleen.

He made what coroner Barrie van den Berg described today as a cry for help in the early hours of August 2 2018 by taking a large dose of antipsychotic drug quetiapine.

Around 15 minutes later, according to evidence from DC Rob Smith at the Truro Magistrates Court inquest, Luke told his mum “I think I have taken too many tablets”.

Evidence given by 999 control room lead Emma Parry stated that it took an hour and five minutes for an ambulance to reach Luke’s home after the inital call, and a further hour and six minutes to treat him at the scene and take him to Treliske Hospital.

There, according to evidence given by Dr William English, he was monitored and his condition seemed to be improving before he suffered a cardiac arrest in the early hours of the following day.

Family members asked Dr English at the inquest why Luke was not given an activated charcoal treatment to neutralise the effects of the drug.

He responded by saying that it was his understanding that the treatment has no benefit if taken more than an hour after the overdose.

Dr English went on to say that the activated charcoal treatment would have been considered if Luke had arrived at hospital earlier.

He added: “Whether it would have made any difference is uncertain.” 999 control room lead Emma Parry was grilled by family members at the inquest about why it took so long to transport Luke to the hospital.

She said that the initial call came in at 1.13am on August 2. The call handler triaged the call and due to Luke’s condition decided to have an ambulance attempt to reach him within sixty minutes.

She said that because he was not showing “priority overdose symptoms” he was placed in a category with a target response time of one hour. Luke's mum called 999 again at 1.53am, half an hour later.

An ambulance still had not been dispatched. At this point, Luke had lost consciousness.

The call was triaged again and moved into a more urgent category, with a target response time of 40 minutes. It was not until 2.21am, one hour and five minutes after the initial call, that an ambulance arrived.

The ambulance then left Luke’s address at 2.46am and arrived at Treliske at 3.27am. Mrs Parry remained adamant that all the proper protocols had been followed with regard to the way the calls were handled.

Luke’s stepdad Darren Taylor asked Mrs Parry why the ambulance stopped at a red light in the early hours of the morning and refused to take the Camborne route whilst taking him to hospital.

Mrs Parry said: “I only deal with the control room so I can’t answer any of that.”

The South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) issued a statement after the inquest.

It said: “Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with Luke Connolly’s family and friends.

“We note that in his conclusion the coroner raised no concerns about the Trust’s handling of the case.

“We responded to the 999 call within the Department of Health’s target time for an incident of this nature, and there is no conclusive evidence that the outcome would have been any different if Luke had arrived at hospital sooner.

“Following the inquest the Trust will continue to work with Luke’s family to address any outstanding concerns they may have.”

Giving evidence at the inquest, Luke’s mum Janet Taylor said: “Luke was a very very kind hearted young man, he was very intelligent and did an awful lot to help homeless people.”

She went on to describe some of his struggles with his mental health, including a recent diagnosis of bipolar disorder and two attempts at self-harm. Janet said that she never thought Luke would attempt to take his own life.

She said: “He would never do anything because of what it would do to mum. How upset mum would be. I think it was a cry for help that went wrong.”

Coroner Barrie van den Berg concluded that Luke’s passing was a drug-related death. A fundraiser in Luke’s memory is being held at the Queen’s Arms in Breage at 6pm on August 3, the one-year anniversary of his death.

All proceeds will go to mental health charity Man Down.