A Burnham man who drank half a bottle of hand sanitiser thinking it was water died a drug-related death the following day.

At Beaconsfield Coroners Court this afternoon (Thursday) an inquest into the death of John-Paul McGrath, who died on December 30 at the age of 43, took place.

The court heard how Mr McGrath, who had problems with a heroin addiction and drug abuse, died at home, where he lived with his mother, in Almond Road, Burnham.

The inquest heard how the day before he died, Mr McGrath had woken up and accidentally drank half a bottle of hand sanitiser, mistaking it for a bottle of water.

Despite the potential danger of this mistake, Mr McGrath had seemed “fit and well” afterwards and slept for most of the day.

That evening Mr McGrath was still asleep and snoring very loudly, but the following morning when his mother got up at around 5am the snoring had stopped.

When she came to check on her son, she found that he was cold to the touch and no longer breathing, and his body had twisted so he was lying face down with his head now at the foot of the mattress.

After alerting her neighbour, police and an ambulance attended the scene, and Mr McGrath was pronounced dead.

A toxicology report found that Mr McGrath had taken heroin shortly before he died, and that traces of other recreational drugs including cocaine were also found in his system.

The coroner concluded that this, combined with prescription drugs he was taking, was the cause of his death.

Mr Graham said that although the amounts of drugs in his system were not dangerously high for a regular user, if he had taken them after a break, it would have been enough to kill him.

Speaking at the inquest, Mr McGrath’s father revealed that his son had started taking drugs when he was 14 years old and that they had “plagued” his life ever since.

He also told the court that he believed his son was trying to clean his life up, and was due to meet a personal trainer the following day, calling his death “cruel”.