A MAN with a history of mental health issues died after taking a large overdose of drugs and alcohol.

An open verdict was recorded at Essex Coroner’s Court on Monday after the death of Richard Loftus.

It is unclear if the overdose was deliberate or accidental.

Mr Loftus, 61, from Clacton, was rushed to Colchester General Hospital after being discovered in the town.

He subsequently died at the hospital on November 15.

A post-mortem examination was carried out and found he had 321 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. That is more than four times the drink driving-limit.

He also had a high reading of Venlafaxine, an anti-depressant used to treat major depressive disorders. Mixing alcohol and Venlafaxine can lead to significant side effects when combined in high volumes.

No family attended the inquest with a friend the closest connection to Mr Loftus for the court to deal with.

Essex Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray said: “A post-mortem examination with the help of toxicology results gave the cause of death as Venlafaxine and ethanol toxicity.

“It was a very high level of alcohol and there was the combination of alcohol and Venlafaxine.

“The court has considered suicide but the court has not got enough information about his state of mind and what was going on in his life at the time.

“I would have to be sure he had intended to take his own life and I am not.

“The court has considered accident on the balance of probabilities but there is not enough evidence for that either.”

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