A MAN who fought a “horrendous” illness with “unbelievable character” for much of his life overdosed on prescription drugs an inquest heard.

Mark Lutring was found dead in his home in Sunnyside Close, Charlton, on November 23 last year at the age of 51.

At an inquest at Winchester Coroners Court last Friday, senior coroner Grahame Short heard that Mr Lutring suffered from myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, and the illness significantly affected him mentally.

His death was ruled a “drug related death” after it was found he had a mixture of prescription medication in his system. However, Mr Short was unable to confirm the source the medication as “not all of them were prescribed” by Mr Lutring’s GP.

Mr Lutring had spent much of his life fighting ME, a long-term illness with many symptoms including extreme tiredness, sleep problems, muscle or joint pain, flu-like symptoms and more.

The severity of symptoms can vary from day to day, but at times Mr Lutring was left bedbound for days, weeks or even months at a time. Little is known about the cause of ME and the coroner heard that Mr Lutring had grown frustrated that the medical profession was unable to pinpoint the reason for his illness.

Speaking at the inquest his brother, Gary, said: “Ever since he had glandular fever when he was 17, nobody really got to the bottom of why he was unwell. So it dates back all the way from there.”

He added: “Even when he was well, he was never really well. He learned to live with the illness.

“You know the unwellness is going to come, so you try to enjoy those [good] parts. It might be the next hour, the next day and he might be laid up in bed for months. It’s an absolutely horrendous disease. There’s no rhyme or reason to it.”

Gary says his brother showed great strength of mind while fighting the illness and tried to remain active when his body allowed it. Having set a junior shotput record in his teens, in later life Mr Lutring went on to take part in triathlons and even ran a marathon.

“He showed unbelievable strength,” said Gary after the inquest. “Unbelievable character and strength of mind.

“He said to me a few years ago, ‘I don’t know to feel well because I’ve forgotten what well feels like’. But he got to a point where he could do these things. He had amazing determination and mental fortitude to do that.”

Mr Lutring’s condition worsened in recent years after two falls - one from a scaffold and one when he was mountain biking.

Last year he attempted to take his own life but although he survived, Gary says the condition became “worse if anything”.

“Some of the stuff that happened to him you just couldn’t make up. He showed so much character to get through what he did and last – because I wouldn’t have [been able to].”

In summary, Mr Short said that Mr Lutring had “suffered from a number of physical health symptoms” but the “precise reasons for those symptoms had not been established during his life.”

He added: “He had been diagnosed with ME and it’s not really understood what caused that or the reason for his symptoms. It in itself is not a fatal condition.”

“The effect of his physical condition – the pain and other symptoms he suffered – had a significant effect on his mental welfare. In May of last year he attempted to take his life and did not succeed at that time.”

“The cause of his death is very clear – it was an overdose of various prescription drugs. But according to Doctor Rose [Mr Lutring’s GP] not all of them were prescribed by him. therefore can’t be sure of the source.

“The high levels suggest a deliberate overdose, but I have no actual evidence that he actually wanted to end his life.

“Having listened to the level of drugs I cannot believe this was an accidental overdose. And so I am going to record this on the balance of probabilities as a drug related death and leave it in those simple terms.

I am going to say he died as a result of an overdose.”