A MINICAB driver who had a fear of dying alone was found lying on the floor at his home by a relative minutes before he died.
Terence Gritton, 56, of Roundwood Road, St Leonards, was discovered by Beverley Burn, cousin of his late wife, when she popped over to drop off some dog food.
An inquest into his death, which happened on June 17 last year, was held on Wednesday, May 25.
Ms Burn said she found Mr Gritton lying on the floor in his bedroom with his eyes flickering.
She said: “I first thought he was drunk. He was as if he had been on his knees and fallen backwards. I could hear him breathing but it was not normal.”
She and a friend called an ambulance but Mr Gritton sadly died while paramedics tried to revive him.
The inquest heard he lived with his wife Jacqueline until she died of cancer in August 2007.
Ms Burn said: “Terence said he was frightened of dying alone in the house and he gave me a door key so I could come in and out to help him with things.
“His health deteriorated and started drinking again after his wife died. He was lonely and admitted this.
“When I saw him a few days before he died he looked like he had given up, as he presented himself as weak and defeated and was unkempt.”
Dr Ashley Fegan-Earl, the pathologist who carried out the post-mortem, said Mr Gritton had “significant” heart disease, brought on by long-term alcoholism.
He said he had been hit over the head by a bottle weeks before he died but said this did not cause his death.
Dr Fegan-Earl said Mr Gritton “could have died at any time” because his heart was in such bad shape.
Coroner Alan Craze recorded a verdict of death by natural causes.