A LLANIDLOES man fell to his death when he landed in a way which blocked his airway after he had been drinking, an inquest heard.

The coroner recorded that John Faulconbridge, 51, of Llanidloes, died accidentally after falling down the stairs while his partner was away.

At the inquest at Welshpool Magistrates’ Court, Coroner Andrew Barkley said that Mr Faulconbridge lived at home with his partner who had left to go on a two-day business course.

He was last spoken to on October 16 and concern was raised after contact with him could no longer be made, said Mr Barkley.

The court heard that he was then found at the bottom of the stairs with a head injury.

A postmortem report revealed that Mr Faulconbridge had a 10cm cut to his head, blood on his face and bruising and abrasion to his body.

He was found to have 198mg of alcohol in his blood and 328mg in his urine, which was described by Dr Barlow as a “high level of alcohol”.

He also had a therapeutic dose of an anti-depressant in his system, the inquest heard.

Mr Faulconbridge was found “slumped” with empty cans of alcohol around him. His neck was “flexed” which would have diminished his level of consciousness. The conclusion from the report was that Mr Faulconbridge had died from postural asphyxiation – when someone’s position prevents the person from breathing adequately.

Jane Forester, Mr Faulconbridge’s niece, had been on the phone to her uncle the day before his body was found. He was in a “cheerful mood” but made comments that he wanted to move back to Coventry and that he was planning his funeral song, the inquest heard. This behaviour was not all that unusual for Mr Faulconbridge. However, Ms Forester said: “He would usually follow up the next morning to say he was sorry. He was a worrier.”

Linda Ashton, a neighbour, was asked by Mr Faulconbridge’s partner, David Gell, to check on him, but as she was on a course in Aberystwyth she asked another neighbour to check. There was no answer, the inquest heard.

Ms Ashton and Mr Gell then entered the house and saw his body at the bottom of the stairs and called 999.

Mr Gell, in an interview read out by the coroner, said that he had been in a relationship with Mr Faulconbridge for 15 years and that they loved each other. “There was a lot of love in the house,” he said.

Mr Faulconbridge had long had problems with alcohol and depression, which he had previously received support for.

However, Mr Gell did not believe he would have committed suicide: “He had such a good life. He loved me and the dogs and he wouldn’t have done this.”

Instead, he thought that a combination of his medication, compro, and alcohol, could have been the cause of his death, the inquest heard.

Coroner Mr Barkley told the inquest that Mr Faulconbridge “suffered a fall down the stairs” and that his airway was compromised, dying from positional asphyxia. Mr Barkley recorded a verdict of accidental death, attributed to alcohol.