An ‘inspiring’ former headteacher was found dead after taking drugs amid struggles to manage his diabetes, an inquest heard.

John Farrell, ex-principal of Bishop Walsh Catholic School in Sutton Coldfield, was sadly discovered on a bedroom floor by a friend on the morning of August 16.

The ketamine and methamphetamines he had taken shortly before had a “knock-on effect” on his diabetes which led to his death, Birmingham Coroner’s Court heard.

Assistant coroner Ian Dreelan told how Mr Farrell had a history of poorly managing his serious condition and drug misuse.

Managing his diabetes became increasingly difficult after his right leg was amputated due to diabetes in May 2021, only months before his death, the Birmingham inquest was told on Monday (November 15).

Medics had also referenced his drug use and depression following the life-changing surgery.

“He had clearly mismanaged his insulin levels and that led him into a very similar incident but on that occasion he lived to tell the tale,” the coroner said, referencing a previous incident.

“He was struggling to get that balance right. He had been quite good at managing it but it was getting more difficult to do. The amputation had a profound effect on that.

Buy a gift for a child in need and make a #BrumWish 2021 come true

BrumWish 2021 aims to get thousands of Christmas gifts to young children in need across our city – the homeless, the vulnerable, kids in care and kids who have little.

This year’s appeal is bigger and better than ever – because we have teamed up with our partners at #Toys4Birmingham, including Thrive Together Birmingham, the Birmingham Playcare Network, the Edgbaston Foundation and Birmingham Forward Steps.

Also involved are Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust, Barnardo’s, Spurgeon’s children’s charity, the Springfield project in Sparkhill, St Paul’s Community Development Trust and Your Local Pantry, which runs food hubs in 12 locations across Birmingham and the Black Country.

You can buy a gift from the #Brumwish Amazon Wishlist here.

Or you can collect and drop off donations of new and nearly new toys and gifts to special donation days at Edgbaston Stadium, B5 7QU, on Saturday November 27, Friday December 3 and Saturday December 4, from 11am to 3pm, where volunteers will be waiting to see you.

Brand new or nearly new, unwrapped gifts, books and toys for all ages will be accepted.

You can also donate cash, which will go into a fund held by a charity partner to use to plug gaps or buy specialist toys for children with additional needs. This is the link to make a donation.

“On August 16 he was found deceased lying on a bedroom floor by a friend.”

His post mortem revealed he “used drugs shortly before his death”, which contributed to complications with his diabetes.

His cause of death was recorded as hypoglycaemia, caused by diabetes and ketamine and methamphetamine use.

Mr Farrell had been headteacher at Bishop Walsh for ten years and prior to that had been assistant headteacher at nearby St Edmund Campion Catholic School in Erdington.

Are you struggling with your diabetes? You can contact the Diabetes UK helpline for support on 0345 123 2399*, Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm or email helpline@diabetes.org.uk

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

He hailed from Sunderland but moved to the Midlands to study at Birmingham University in 1984 where he studied history and then his Post Graduate Certificate in Education in history geography and PE, before becoming a teacher.

Bishop Walsh Catholic School previously paid tribute to their former principal.

A previous statement said: “Mr Farrell made a huge contribution to thousands of lives in a long and distinguished career. His family requests privacy at this time.”

A former Bishop Walsh pupil, Paul Fleming, had said: “Mr Farrell was an inspirational teacher, radical Catholic & unashamed socialist. His heart-on-sleeve humanity set him apart.

“Like lots of my teachers at Bishop Walsh I owe him so much.”

Other former pupils also praised Mr Farrell’s teaching.

Michael Baker said: “Heartbreaking. An incredible teacher, headteacher and employer who inspired me to become a teacher. May he rest in peace.”

We send out daily court and crime updates straight to our email inbox – sign up for them here.

This content was originally published here.