AN ‘intelligent and generous’ man who died 11 days after being assaulted at a pub had a mixture of cocaine and painkillers in his system along with several other prescribed medications, a post-mortem revealed.

An inquest at Preston Coroners Court heard how Andrew Ashworth, who had been suffering for several years with mental health issues following a diagnosis of skin cancer in 2012, was found collapsed by his dad in his Accrington home on March 31.

Even though pathologists ruled out injuries sustained in the assault, which happened at the Commercial Hotel in Accrington on March 20, as having any bearing on his death, coroner James Newman said the fact he had been in immense pain led him to purchase opiates online.

He said and it was the mixture of these and cocaine that had caused him to slip into unconsciousness and die.

Mr Newman said: “Tests concluded that Andrew died of cocaine and oxycodone toxicity. He had also been prescribed several medications for anxiety and depression, which were all present in his blood stream, along with low levels of alcohol, but were within the levels expected when those medications are taken in a therapeutic manner.”

The inquest heard that despite being given the all-clear for cancer, Andrew, 35, of Shelley Drive, Baxenden, had spiralled into a dependency on alcohol until entering rehab and staying sober for five years.

However, one addiction was replaced with another and he then became dependant on sedatives benzodiazepines.

Several more traumatic events in his life followed, including the breakdown of his relationship and the death of his grandmother, and were all deemed pivotal to the decrease in his mood.

Mr Newman said: “And then on March 20, he was assaulted at a pub. This was the final straw and resulted in a lot of pain, so much so that he purchased painkillers online and used these to self medicate.

“He had been battling with addiction as a result of being told he may have months to live, and then everything else that happened after this increased his problems.”

Andrew’s father, Stephen Ashworth, told the inquest his son had also needed help with his mental health, had begged to be treated, and believed he had been failed by the system.

He said: “He was pleading for help with his mental health and had spent thousands trying to get help privately for addiction.

“We took him to A&E and had to wait six hours to even be seen. They basically told us there was nothing they could do, because he wasn’t running around outside presenting as a danger, they couldn’t help him.”

Mr Newman said: “He was under the care of the mental health team and wanted to get better, but there’s an admission that there was a lack of communication between the mental health team and his GP, resulting in delays in being seen.

“And then the assault happened and it appears to be this assault which causes significant distress, which he then tries to manage by self-medicating.

“While we do see there were problems with his mental health treatment it was the pain that drove him to take the opiates, which have caused the most damage.

“He’s taken oxycodone to treat the pain and was found dead at home due to an accidental overdose of medication. Therefore I have to return a conclusion of misadventure.”

Speaking after the inquest Mr Ashworth said: “He was the best son you could imagine. He was an analyst and very intelligent, and he was always generous with us.

“All this came as a massive shock, and we are still coming to terms with it now.”