A “CHARMING and generous” audio technician who was alcohol-dependent died of a head injury at his partner’s Downley home after suffering a number of falls in the weeks before his death.

John Stephenson, an audio and visual technician who lived in Amersham Hill, was pronounced dead at his partner’s flat in Plomer Green Avenue on August 25 last year.

An inquest into his death at Buckinghamshire Coroner’s Court on Wednesday heard that Mr Stephenson was an alcoholic who used to become unsteady on his feet when he had been drinking.

At the time of his death, he was three times over the legal drink drive limit.

His partner Denise Stratford told the inquest that John, with whom she had been in a relationship for three years, was a kind man but he suffered with depression.

She said they had an agreement that John would not drink at the home she shared with her son and hoped he one day may turn his life around.

Describing the moments before her partner died, Denise said: “John came to mine and I gave him a bath and we sat on the sofa. He fell asleep but woke up saying he had a bad headache and was feeling hot. He then said he was cold. He stumbled around and nearly knocked my television over. I managed to catch him as he collapsed.

“I laid him on the floor as that seemed to be the safest place for him. He fell back to sleep and I heard him snoring. He started breathing large breaths and then nothing.”

An ambulance was called and he was sadly pronounced dead by paramedics. In the days before he passed away, there were a number of incidents where John fell over and injured himself.

On August 23, DC Caroline Timmis from High Wycombe Police Station said that John had “fallen backwards in the street and cracked his head on the pavement” and he was taken to hospital.

The next day, a member of the public called 999 after John was seen laying on a grassy area in Plomer Green Avenue and he was again taken to hospital.

A post-mortem found that John had suffered a fatal subdural hematoma – but it was impossible to say which incident had caused the injury to his brain as there had been a number of them in a short space of time.

Assistant coroner Anne Davies ruled his death was alcohol-related.

She said: “John was known to be an alcoholic and prone to falls. He had discharged himself from hospital in the days before his death. He did not stay in hospital long enough for them to do their proper investigations or manage what was going on.”

Speaking to John’s partner and his ex-wife who were both at the inquest hearing, Ms Davies added: “This must have been a traumatic time for you. I hope you can put this terrible time behind you – it must have been hell for you.”