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21st June, 2020
By Tom Murphy @TomMurphyTM, Audience and Content Editor
A 46-YEAR-OLD man from Barrow was found with more than 10 times his standard dose of two different antidepressants in his system.
In recording a short-form conclusion of suicide, a coroner ruled that Paul Joseph Smith, who died at his flat on Abbey Road, Barrow, had ‘probably intended to do himself harm’ but it was ‘impossible to know for sure’ if he intended to kill himself.
The coroner’s court heard that Mr Smith had a history of problems with depression, which included suicidal ideation.
A toxicology report revealed he had ‘potentially lethal’ amounts of antidepressants in his blood at the time of his death on November 18 last year.
There was also alcohol in his urine at around 1.2 times the drink-drive limit.
The last person to see him alive was friend Josef Gardiner-Jones.
In a statement read out at Cockermouth Coroner’s Court, Mr Gardiner-Jones said he went over to Mr Smith’s flat at 6pm on November 16.
Mr Gardiner-Jones, who met Mr Smith on the Grindr dating app in July 2019, said the pair drank a number of bottles of wine between them.
He said they put on some music on which was ‘quite emotional’.
They had conversations about Mr Smith’s mother, a dog Mr Smith had owned which had died and a past abusive relationship which the deceased had been in.
Mr Gardiner-Jones slept through most of the following day at Mr Smith’s house, waking up at ‘at some point’ on the 17 to find Mr Smith lying on the floor, presumably passed out.
However, upon waking up at just past midnight the following day, he checked on his friend.
“I felt both his shoulders and noticed he was very cold and asked for an ambulance and told them that Mr Smith was dead,” he said.
Coroner Dr Nicholas Shaw recorded a short-form conclusion of suicide.
But Dr Shaw acknowledged it was ‘impossible’ to know for sure whether that had been Mr Smith’s’ intention.
However, he said: “Even though he’d had some alcohol I believe at the time he probably intended to do himself harm.