A MEON Valley man who “got involved with a thoroughly bad lot” of people died on Christmas day.

Martin John Hales, of Vine Gardens in Winchester Road, Bishop’s Waltham, had a history of mental health problems and drug misuse.

He was pronounced dead at home on December 25, 2019.

At an inquest in Winchester, area coroner Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp described Mr Hales’ life in the years leading up to his death.

She said: “Martin was using quite a lot of drugs, it must have cost him a fortune. We know that he had ongoing depression and suffered from severe anxiety attacks.

“At one point he got in with a thoroughly bad lot who took over his flat. I understand that there were people threatening him and he was left frightened in his own home.

“He was pursued by very unpleasant people and it was a no-win situation. They continued to threaten him even after he managed to get them out of the flat.”

Mr Hales’ mother, Linda Hales, continued to explain the troubles her son had.

“Our oldest son died in 2001 and both myself and Martin were unable to come to terms with this,” she said.

“He found it hard to talk about. Sometimes it seemed as if he had given up on life. He married and had a son who he loved dearly, but the marriage didn’t last.

“The people he met took advantage of him and we tried to get them out of the flat but we were scared of them. I know that on one occasion he was threatened with a gun.

“I loved him so much. This should have never happened.”

David Martin, a friend of Mr Hales who was with him hours before his death, provided a statement to the coroner’s office.

It said: “I’ve known Martin for six and a half years. He was a drug addict and I once tried to get him to go to rehab.

“On Christmas Eve we were at his flat with two other friends. I left with the two to go to another neighbour’s flat.

“At 2.55am I took the dog out and passed Martin’s rear patio. The curtains were still open and the lights on.”

Mr Martin called an ambulance to Mr Hales’ flat, where he was found.

Dr Hayley Burnley conducted a post mortem on the body.

She found a mixture of drugs in his system including cocaine and morphine, and concluded he died by multiple drug toxicity.

Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp accepted this medical cause of death and concluded the inquest as a drug-related death.