THE death of a 37-year-old man found dead by his partner in the house they shared in Pontnewynydd, Pontypool, in July 2017, was drug-related, senior coroner for Gwent Wendy James concluded at an inquest.

Simon Protheroe was found dead by partner Joanna Webber on a mattress in the living room at around 5.30am on Sunday July 23.

Both took morphine on July 21, a Gwent Coroner's Court hearing was told. In a statement, Ms Webber said she woke at 2.30am the following morning and Mr Protheroe was asleep on the kitchen floor. He woke up and asked if they had "slept through".

She then woke up at 5.30am on Sunday and found him unresponsive.

Mr Protheroe's mother Carole last saw him two or three weeks previously at her home in Merthyr and he had looked very smart. They spoke by phone daily and sometimes, she said, his speech was slurred, but she believed that was caused by medication for depression.

Her son's death came as a "total shock".

The hearing was told Mr Protheroe and Ms Webber drove a friend, who supplied them with diazepam and amphetamines, to Newport on three occasions before Mr Protheroe's death.

The first time had been to pick up what he told them was the drug crack. On the last occasion, July 20, Ms Webber asked if he could get her some morphine, which he delivered later that day.

A post mortem examination revealed Mr Protheroe died of acute cardio-respiratory insufficiency. Ms James said morphine depresses the central nervous system and someone with a low tolerance to it, such as Mr Protheroe, would be "particularly susceptible" to this side effect.

His consumption of morphine had, she said, taken an "unintentional and unexpected turn".