A DEPRESSED alcoholic, who was unaware he had pneumonia, died after drinking morphine prescribed to his partner, an inquest heard.

Darrin Pirie, aged 45, was found dead by police at Wesley Court, Woodcroft Close, Cradley Heath, after a concerned relative raised the alarm.

Fighting back the tears, his partner Tonia Hemus told yesterday’s inquest, in Smethwick, she blamed herself for his death because it was her medicine he had taken.

She was in hospital at the time the unemployed warehouseman died in August and had left a bottle of morphine in the back of a kitchen cupboard.

Ms Hemus said she saw him previously once take a “swig” of morphine which she took to relieve the pain of arthritis and denied ever offering him any.

Pathologist Dr Sunil Muzaffar gave the cause of death as opiate intoxication, with bronchial pneumonia being a contributory factor.

He said tests revealed Mr Pirie, who was also taking an anti-depressant and had a diseased liver, had taken morphine previously.

Black Country coroner Robin Balmain recorded a verdict of death due to a combination of accidental and natural causes, in that he was suffering from pneumonia and did not intend to kill himself by taking the morphine.