Page last updated at 15:13 GMT, Monday, 22 December 2008

Overdose killed singer's husband

Corinne Bailey Rae
Corinne Bailey Rae's husband was found at a flat in Leeds

The husband of singer-songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae died after an accidental overdose of methadone and alcohol, a coroner has ruled.

The body of Scottish-born Jason Rae, 31, was found by police at a flat in the Hyde Park area of Leeds, West Yorkshire, on 22 March.

Leeds Coroner's Court heard the saxophonist had alcohol and methadone, a heroin substitute, in his blood.

Coroner David Hinchliff gave a verdict of death by misadventure.

He said: "Methadone is a dangerous substance in its own right.

My husband is my first and only true love - he is the most beautiful and complex person I have ever known - he is utterly irreplaceable
Corinne Bailey Rae

"It is what's called a central nervous system depressive, which, if taken in quantity, can affect the part of the brain that controls breathing.

"This, coupled with alcohol, can be devastating."

Mr Rae grew up in Aberdeen, but moved to Leeds to attend the city's college of music.

Bailey Rae, 29, met her husband at a Leeds jazz club where she was working as a cloakroom attendant. They married in 2001.

In a statement read by the coroner in court the singer, who was not present, said her husband had struggled with alcohol for "a few years".

She said: "My husband is my first and only true love. He is the most beautiful and complex person I have ever known. He is utterly irreplaceable."

She also paid tribute to his "unquestionable and innate talent".

Mr Rae had recently returned to Leeds after touring with his band, the Haggis Horns.

'Naive user'

The inquest heard that on 21 March he went to a pub in Hyde Park, where he met a friend, James Sheasby.

Later that evening they returned to Mr Sheasby's house and continued drinking.

Mr Sheasby, who had previously had problems with heroin addiction, had been prescribed methadone as part of his drug treatment.

He left Mr Rae asleep on the sofa to go to get a pizza, and later went to bed, leaving him asleep. But when he got up the next afternoon he was unable to wake his friend.

Police found three empty bottles of methadone on the sofa next to Mr Rae, as well as more of the drug in a fridge in the flat.

Forensic physiologist Professor Peter Vanezis said that as Mr Rae was a "naive user" of methadone, his body would be more severely affected by the drug than an experienced user.

He also found traces of cocaine and ecstasy during the post-mortem examination, but said these would not have contributed to Mr Rae's death.

Det Supt Stephen Payne, of West Yorkshire Police, said Mr Sheasby had co-operated fully with the investigation and he was satisfied that Mr Sheasby had not given Mr Rae the methadone.

Mr Rae's band played as a backing band for Amy Winehouse, Mark Ronson and Bailey Rae herself, and had recently released a debut album, Hot Damn!, at the time of his death.

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