Tributes have been paid to a “wonderful” Hampshire paramedic who passed away at home from an accidental overdose.

John Derrick Paul Jones passed away at his north Hampshire home after accidentally overdosing on the painkiller fentanyl. The 35-year-old South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) employee is believed to have passed away following “an accident in relation to sexual gratification,” Winchester Coroners’ Court heard.

In a statement read out in court, his family paid tribute to him as a “wonderful human being.”

“He was loving and kind with the ability to make people believe they mattered,” they said. “Good was not good enough for John, he had to be the best he could be.”

A verdict of death by misadventure was declared by coroner Chris Wilkinson.

The inquest heard that Mr Jones had trained as a paramedic after receiving two Masters degrees in Chemistry, and was studying for a third degree at the time of his death.

Colleague Kirsten Willis-Drewett said that he had “a book for everything”, describing him as a “well-read gentleman”, and regularly lent medicine books to colleagues.

However, his shift patterns were said to be “playing havoc with his circadian rhythm and affecting his ability to sleep,” with Mr Jones having had to be woken up by colleagues, who he lived with at his St Mary Bourne home, when he overslept.

On October 11 2020, Helen Carter, who Mr Jones was living with, said that he was “his usual self and [she] had no reason to suspect he wasn’t.”

He had a day off on October 12, and following Ms Carter needing to get a Covid test after being warned to self-isolate, he responded to a text message from her, and assumed the subsequent lack of contact was due to him social distancing.

The following day, she received a message from SCAS advising her that Mr Jones had not arrived to a shift, and was asked to carry out a welfare check. She received no answer after shouting into his room, and when she subsequently entered the room with a colleague, it was “immediately apparent John had died.”

Police were called, with DS Emma Barrow saying that there was ”no sign of any disturbance”, with the room described as “neat” and with Mr Jones’ uniform laid out for work. However, packets of fentanyl “where labels had been removed” were found, with one patch missing.

Mrs Willis-Drewett confirmed that Mr Jones “would not have had access to such medications” as part of his job.

The inquest heard that he had previously used a number of recreational drugs, as well as having “experimented with chemsex”.

Suicide was considered as a possibility, with Mr Jones having had “a history of depression and suicidal ideas,” but following talking therapy he was described as being “in a good place.”

This was a view shared by DS Barrow, who said she “didn’t get any impression that it was an attempt upon his life.”

A post-mortem examination was subsequently carried out, which found that Mr Jones was “healthy for his age”. However, a fentanyl patch was found within his rectal cavity, with the cause of death given as a fentanyl overdose.

Paying tribute, Mrs Willis-Drewett said that Mr Jones was “a huge character”, adding: “He was such a warm character and so generous of nature.

“The input of John’s passing has been huge. When you lose a character who is larger than life it has a huge impact.

“We really do miss him.”