Man died from overdose after benefits payments stopped

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Joseph Dias
The coroner’s court at Winchester

A MAN found dead in his flat from an overdose had been worried about debts after his benefits were stopped, an inquest heard.

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Joseph Dias (50), of Davis Field, New Milton, lived alone with his dog and suffered with anxiety, insomnia and agoraphobia.

Winchester Coroner’s Court heard how he was supported by his sister, Lisa Franca, who often bought him shopping and would encourage him to meet her for a coffee in a local tearoom.

She said: “He struggled most of his life, but he went downhill in the last few months before he died. He was struggling more every day.”

An incorrect £2,000 bill from British Gas and his benefits being stopped had made him more anxious, she said, with him telling her: “It’s all got to me now.”

However, he had not spoken about an intention to take his own life, the court heard.

Joseph Dias was found in his flat just after 5pm on 8th November last year, after his sister raised concerns that he was not answering the door. Police and paramedics arrived, but Mr Dias was declared dead.

DS Mark Wiseman said in a statement read to the court that he was satisfied there were no signs of a disturbance at Mr Dias’s home and his death was not suspicious.

A statement from Mr Dias’s GP explained that he had suffered with mental health problems since the 1990s and had been referred to the community mental health team on numerous occasions.

Dr Amanda Walden said he had been emotional and felt in crisis after his benefits were stopped in April. Although he was referred to the community mental health team, he was reluctant to engage and was signposted to a local wellbeing centre for support.

Pathologist Dr Viidhi Bhargava, who carried out the post-mortem examination, said Mr Dias died from an overdose of the strong painkiller tramadol.

Coroner Samantha Marsh said there had been no evidence of Mr Dias’ intentions and could not be sure if he had taken the tramadol overdose deliberately or accidentally.

She recorded a conclusion that his death was drug-related.

The Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or at www.samaritans.org.

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