A MILLIONAIRE Solihull businessman died of a lung infection after taking an overdose of prescription medication, an inquest has heard.
Colin Peter Davies died at Solihull Hospital on April 19 this year – a week after his wife Linda was unable to wake him at their home in Deer Park Way on April 12.
Coroner Emma Brown concluded Mr Davies’ death was drug related, but could not be sure that he had committed suicide or intended to harm himself.
The medical cause of death was stated as aspiration pneumonia – a lung infection caused by food, liquid or vomit inhaled into the lungs – secondary to an overdose of benzodiazepine and opiates.
It went on to list Parkinson’s Disease and depression as contributory factors.
Mr Davies was diagnosed with Parkinsons in 2004 and had struggled with his mental heath for years.
As a result, the 75-year-old had been prescribed strong morphine-based painkillers, including oromorph, and benzodiazepine sedatives – and was known to take over the prescribed amount if he was in pain or if he was preparing to attend a specific event.
His widow, Linda Pfeifle, told the inquest: “Colin had been quite depressed for some time.
“There was so much good in his life and he was looking forward to so much, but he also told people he had had enough.
“One of his worst fears was to lose his dignity.”
Ms Pfeifle had woken early on the morning of April 12, leaving Mr Davies asleep in bed.
But when she could not wake him to get ready for an appointment with his Parkinson’s doctor, she called 999 and he was admitted to Solihull Hospital.
Dr Khan, the consultant physician who treated Mr Davies at Solihull Hospital, explained he and his team gave Mr Davies antidotes to the drugs in his system.
This caused his condition to improve slightly, during which time Dr Khan claimed Mr Davies admitted to doctors he had taken temazepam, morphine sulphates and oromorph.
He died a week later as a result of aspiration pneumonia – which doctors recorded on his medical cause of death as secondary to a benzodiazepine and opiate overdose.
In her summing up, coroner Emma Brown said: “Colin suffered consistently with mental health and that pain would feed into his depression and vice versa.
“He discussed on more than one occasion that he would not just consider but would take matters into his own hands.
“In the weeks before his death he had been down on his life. He had also taken steps to putting matters in order.”
Ms Brown noted that Dr Ghannam, the associate professor in old age psychiatry at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust who treated Colin, felt he had improved during the year he treated him.
But Miss Brown said evidence of Colin’s poor mental state and depression given by family and friends ‘bore more weight’.
She added: “Colin had a careful regime for taking medication but would over-medicate if in pain or in preparation for an event.
“It would appear that in whatever brief discussion he had in hospital with medical staff, he did not deny taking an overdose.
“The likelihood was of aspiration pneumonia as a consequence of over-medication.”
Colin grew up in Pelsall near Walsall, driving pit ponies down the mines at Lea Hall Colliery before studying politics, economics and industrial relations at university.
He went on to start his own company using cutting-edge computer technology to print specialised stationary and business forms.
The company ran on software that Colin wrote escpecially, which he sold to an American company for a seven-figure sum.
Colin was a life-long Aston Villa fan and season ticket holder since 1968, often going to games with his son, Stephen.
His successes and leadership earned him numerous awards, a guest lectureship at Aston University and an invitation to join former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, for dinner in her private dining room at Number 10.
He was previously married to singer Maggie Moone and split his time between his homes in Solihull and Las Vegas.