A loving​ son and brother died from a heroin overdose after visiting a local drug and alcohol charity to get help to beat his addiction, an inquest heard.

Popular Alex Sessford, 36, described as a "kind and gentle young man", who struggled emotionally after the death of his mother and grandmother, died at Carlisle's Cumberland Infirmary on June 28 last year, the day after he took heroin in Carlisle city centre. He was found unconscious in a toilet at Carlisle's Market Hall.

During a one-hour hearing at Cumbria House, Botchergate, Carlisle, coroner Kirsty Gomersal read extracts from statements, including one from Mr Sessford's father Bernard.

An sociable little boy, Alex had loved working with his father on the farm, and playing with his two brothers and two sisters, and he interacted really well with friends, said Mr Sessford senior.

His son had struggled after the death of his mother Sandra and things got worse for him after his grandmother also died.

"They were very close," said the coroner, quoting from the statement.

"Probably because of the grief, he did struggle with his mental health, and might also have used cannabis."

The inquest heard that Alex Sessord had begun to inject heroin - but when asked about drugs by his father he had denied using them. When he moved into his flat at Brisco Meadows, Upperby, Carlisle, his father would visit him twice a week. He became less anxious having his own space.

The hearing was told that Alex Sessford came from a very close family, but he was also considered vulnerable to exploitation by others, according to medical professionals.

Two weeks before his death, he seemed a little bit down, the court heard.

The day before he overdosed, he spent the evening with his brother Robert and a friend. The following day, on June 27, Alex Sessford had seemed his normal self, said his brother. At 1.20pm that day, a woman who was in the market was approached by a stranger who told her there was a man in the toilets who was poorly.

She and two men who were in the area administered first aid.

Alex Sessford died in hospital early the next day. His cause of death was heroin overdose and pneumonia.

His GP described Alex as a troubled young man with a history of drugs misuse, with frequent visits to A&E because of mental health issues or overdoses, though often he left before being treated.

He had gone to Unity on June 22 to get help for his drug use and was given an appointment for June 27. Because he was late for this, he was given another appointment in July, along with clean drugs equipment and advise about safe drugs use.

Summing up the case, Miss Gomersal there was no evidence Alex Sessford wanted to harm himself. "The most important thing is that Alex came from a close, strong, loving family," said Miss Gomersal. "He was a kind and gentle young man, who sadly didn't reach his full potential... He struggled after losing his mum at a young age; and he was very close to his nan, who sadly passed away."

She added that he was seeking help to beat his drugs problem when he died.

Her conclusion was that Alex Sessford's death was drug related.