Gamer dies with Xbox controller in hand after accidental overdose

A gamer was found dead with a controller in his hand after he spent the night playing Xbox with a friend.

Simon Shanks, 43, was discovered in a sitting position on his downstairs sofa in front of the screen, an inquest at Swansea Guildhall heard.

His friend said they had not taken any drugs that night, but a toxicology report found cocaine, morphine and methadone in his system. The coroner said he died of an unintentional overdose.

The inquest on Wednesday heard the duo had stayed up until around midnight playing video games at Mr Shanks’ home in Loughor, Swansea, last October 18.

The next morning he was found downstairs at 11.40am ‘still on the sofa, in a sitting position, still clutching the Xbox controller’. Emergency services were called, but he was pronounced dead at 12.15pm.

The inquest heard that Mr Shanks was a previous heavy drinker, but had been sober for seven years.

PC Ben Evans of South Wales Police said it was normal for Mr Shanks to sleep on his downstairs sofa.

He told the hearing: ‘Simon’s friend said he had not taken any drugs the night before to his knowledge.

‘Officers did not find any evidence of drug use. There were no signs of a disturbance or forced entry. While Simon’s death was not suspicious it was unexplained.’

A post-mortem report found that Mr Shanks had experienced a thickening of the heart which can weaken its ability to pump blood around the body.

The toxicology report found ‘therapeutic levels’ of prescribed medication as well as levels of methadone, cocaine and morphine.

Acting senior coroner for Swansea and Neath Port Talbot Colin Phillips recorded a conclusion of drug-related death.

He said Mr Shanks died on October 19, 2020 as a result of an unintentional overdose.

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