A SOUTHAMPTON man died after taking a cocktail of drugs, despite attempts by a friend to save his life, an inquest heard.

Lee Stebbing, who had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, was discovered unconscious on his bed after taking a mix of cocaine, amphetamines and heroin.

However, Winchester Coroner's Court heard how the 47-year-old, of Selby Place, Shirley, had been released on conditional discharge from the Antelope House mental health facility after appearing to turn a corner.

Psychiatrist Dr Michael Groves told the inquest that staff were surprised by the news of Mr Stebbing's death, adding: "He seemed full of life and had something about him."

The inquest also heard that he had offered a place to stay to homeless friend Charmaine Fahy to help her get off the streets.

But, after staying clean for a number of months, he returned to drugs, taking cocaine and heroin with Ms Fahy at his flat on January 16. Ms Fahy told the inquest that he had also taken amphetamines.

She said that she left the flat during the afternoon, and when she returned, she found Mr Stebbing lying on his bed, adding: "I knew something wasn't right."

After failing to find a pulse, and assuming he had suffered an overdose, Ms Fahy injected him with medication to counteract the drugs, but it failed to revive him. She then called 999, but paramedics were unable to save him.

Pathologist Dr Adrian Bateman confirmed that evidence of a cocaine, amphetamines and heroin use was found in his blood, and put the death down to a mix of the drugs.

Recording a conclusion of drugs-related death, senior coroner Grahame Short said that following a period of abstaining from drugs, "it might well be he was less tolerant than he was expecting; alternatively, it could be his body could no longer cope, I cannot known for certain".