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Dependence on over-the-counter drugs led to journalist's death

Staffordshire journalist Peter Bossley died from a dependence on over-the-counter drugs, an inquest has heard.

The 42-year-old, who worked for The Sentinel and Sentinel Sunday, was found dead at his home in Newcastle-under-Lyme on September 8 last year.

The inquest heard that in the months leading to his death he complained of a stomach upset and became addicted to painkilling drugs codeine and ibuprofen.

He told a doctor at work five days before his death that he took up to 72 tablets a day and empty packets had been found at his home and in his car, the inquest was told.

The doctor advised him to seek professional help from the Drugs and Alcohol Advisory Service, but later inquiries showed Peter did not make contact with his GP before he died.

A post-mortem examination revealed he died of bleeding from an inflammation of the stomach, which was caused by over-the-counter drugs.

A forensic pathologist ruled out the use of illegal drugs and told the inquest Peter had not taken an overdose.

North Staffordshire coroner Ian Smith said: “For whatever reason, which is not clear, he became addicted to these drugs. He was taking them in quite copious amounts as shown by the packets and what he said to the doctor on September 3.

“He was taking three packets of 24 tablets every day. It has caused the inflammation of the stomach and that has led to bleeding in copious amounts.”

A verdict of death by dependence on drugs was recorded.

Peter joined The Sentinel as a feature writer in 1996 before becoming features editor of The Sentinel and then production editor of Sentinel Sunday.

He had previously worked for the Burton Mail and South Manchester Reporter, and away from work was a member of the infamous Macc Lads in the 1980s.

At the time of his death, he was an assistant editor on The Sentinel.