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A LOVING dad who was troubled by a heartbreaking relationship split was discovered dead at his home after taking a large amount of painkillers.
Father-of-two Andrew Wilkinson was discovered on Christmas Day by relatives.
And the 33-year-old’s sister believes he ‘died of a broken heart’ following the breakdown of his relationship with the mother of his children.
The split meant Mr Wilkinson, who lost a leg in a motorcycle accident at the age of 17, no longer shared the family home with the youngsters.
Yesterday, North Staffordshire Coroners Court was told a pathology report showed Mr Wilkinson had taken a large number of pain killers before he was found on his bed.
However, Coroner Ian Smith said could not be sure the victim, of Brittain Avenue, Newcastle, had intentionally set out to kill himself.
The hearing was told how the motorcycle accident meant the father was forced to give up his job as an apprentice tyre and exhaust fitter.
Subsequent operations saw Mr Wilkinson first having his right leg amputated up to his knee before more of the limb had to be taken away.
His sister Lisa Wilkinson, of Silverdale, said her brother’s relationship had broken down about three years ago.
After that Mr Wilkinson begun to drink more, and had also attempted to take his own life. The inquest also heard how Mr Wilkinson had begun a course of anti-depressants following his relationship troubles.
Miss Wilkinson had invited her brother to spend Christmas Day at her home on Duke Place with the rest of the family – including his children.
The 35-year-old said: “We had seen him the Friday before and took him shopping and my dad saw him on Saturday, as he took him to get his hair cut ready to see the children on Christmas Day.
“He was looking forward to seeing his children.”
She added that it was not unusual not to hear from her brother as he would not always sleep well due to the pain caused by his road collision injuries, and would sometimes fall asleep during the day.
On Christmas morning Mr Wilkinson’s brother, Paul, and father, Thomas, went to his house to collect him.
But the pair called for Miss Wilkinson’s partner Craig Miller to help them gain access to the property after being unable to raise him.
Paul Wilkinson, who discovered his brother, said: “I don’t really remember what I said at the time but I said something like ‘come on Andy it’s Christmas Day and dad is downstairs waiting for you. I touched his skin and it was cold.” Emergency services attended and a search was carried out but no suicide note was found.
His sister added: “I think he died of a broken heart in the end. He loved his kids.”
Coroner Ian Smith recorded an open verdict. He said: “He could have been lying in a semi-stupor for some days but we can’t be sure of how long.”