A SOUTHAMPTON man had appeared to be overcoming heroin addiction so he could be a father to his baby daughter.

But Philip King suffered a relapse and died of an overdose, an inquest heard.

Mr King, 30, had spent much of his 20s taking drugs including heroin, cocaine and spice, and spending time in prison, but had been clean for several months and was trying to rebuild his life after the birth of a daughter in Easter last year.

He had moved into a Society of St James hostel in Westridge Road, Portswood.

On January 9 his body was found in his bedsit during a routine check by the charity managers.

Consultant histopathologist Vipul Foria said death was caused by a heroin overdose.

Dr Foria said if someone had ceased to use heroin their tolerance would be diminished should they return to using.

In a statement, Mr King's father Keith said after Philip's daughter's birth "he appeared to stop using, his appearance changed and he looked much healthier.

"He was looking for work and completing course through the Society of St James. He appeared to be trying to sort his life out. He was happier and not in trouble (with the police)."

Mr King senior has since adopted the daughter.

PC Nathan Johnson, from Portswood station, was called to the scene. He told the inquest in Winchester there were no suspicious circumstances. It did not appear that Mr King had taken the drugs in his clean and tidy bedsit as no paraphernalia was found by the police.

Senior coroner Grahame Short recorded that it was a drug-related death. "Philip had had a troubled life, but according to his father he was trying to stop taking drugs and get his life together for the sake of his daughter. It seems he was doing just that.

"Whilst I don't doubt he was abstaining from drugs over the Christmas period whilst staying with his father, he returned to Westridge Road on January 2 and resumed his drug use.

"Bearing in mind that he had not been using drugs he was therefore less tolerant to the effects of heroin than he would have been."

After the inquest his mother Denice Humby said: "He was a cheeky, lovable chappy who is going to be missed. He is loved by everyone and missed by everybody."