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Coroner Says Friend of Singer Boy George Died of Drugs

January 28, 1987

LONDON (AP) _ Musician Mark Golding died from an overdose of methadone, a heroin substitute, a day after he was arrested with pop singer Boy George in connection with possible drug offenses, a coroner’s inquest ruled Wednesday.

″We have here a familiar story: pop musicians and their hangers-on, the smoking of cannabis, the taking of heroin or heroin substitutes, and someone has died,″ said Westminster coroner, Dr. Paul Knapman. ″I can’t believe anybody would register any surprise.″

Golding, 20, died Dec. 21 in a London apartment a day after being arrested with Boy George and another musician, Mark Batham, 25, as the trio returned from an all-night party. New York songwriter Michael Rudetsky, 27, died from a heroin overdose at Boy George’s north London mansion on Aug. 6.

Boy George, whose real name is George O’Dowd, has not been charged pending analysis of substances seized when he was arrested last month.

Police testified Wednesday that they went to the house where the trio had spent the night and found a syringe, hashish, silver paper containing traces of heroin, and two bottles containing methadone, which is used to treat heroin addicts.

The singer testified at the inquiry that Golding telephoned him on the night they were released on their own recognizance and said police had blamed him for their arrest.

″He was told it was his fault because of the way he was dressed and how he looked,″ Boy George said.

Patrolman Raymond Robinson testified that Golding wore multi-colored tights and a fluffy yellow jacket and described the three men as being ″on cloud nine.″

Dr. Christine Pickard said her assistant had prescribed 17 fluid ounces of methadone to Golding, four times his daily dose, to last him over the Christmas vacation two days before he died.

Boy George’s father, Gerry O’Dowd, attempted to interrupt the proceedings by asking the doctor further questions but was cut short by the coroner who warned him, ″You are getting very close to contempt.″

Boy George, who sings with the Culture Club group, underwent treatment for addiction last summer after being convicted of possessing heroin and fined 250 pounds, then equivalent to $370. Critics said the sentence was too lenient.

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