Horsham father accidentally overdoses on prescription medication after launching radio show

A Horsham father accidentally died by overdosing on prescription medication, a coroner concluded.

When Simon Burgess' wife left for work on the morning of July 18, he was sleeping as normal. But at 4pm, she received a call from their son that he could not wake up his father, so they called 999.

The inquest was held at Crawley Coroners' Court

The inquest was held at Crawley Coroners' Court

Paramedics arrived at their home in The Copse, Southwater, and tried to get Simon's heart beating again using CPR. But it did not work and the 51-year-old passed away at 5.03pm.

A post-mortem at East Surrey Hospital in Redhill found he died of dihyrdrocodeine toxicity with the presence of zoplicone, and an underlying case of heart disease.

The drugs were prescribed to help Mr Burgess cope with chronic back problems and arthritis.

Assistant coroner Christopher Wilkinson concluded his death was accidental. He said: "There has been a build-up of the levels of the drugs in his system without him knowing.

"In itself it would be near to toxic levels, but the contributory factor of his heart condition could have exacerbated the situation.

"His body couldn't deal with it, his system has overloaded and he died as a result.

"Sadly, he had self-medicated to manage the pain he was in and tragically, that has had an awful effect on him which has caused his death."

The inquest heard how Mr Burgess had recently received a settlement package from Reigate & Banstead Borough Council where he worked, which had allowed him to pursue his lifelong passion for music.

He had just begun presenting his own radio show, the inquest heard, which his wife and mother said had brought him great pleasure and made him look forward to his future.

Mr Wilkinson said: "It is bittersweet. It is pleasing to hear that he found that opportunity; it is just sad that it was at the wrong time in his life."