A MAN called emergency services pleading for help less than 24 hours before taking his own life, an inquest has heard.

Howard Gary Smollan, 46, died following a drug overdose in York Road, Southend but had called 999 the night prior to his death saying he was suicidal.

The inquest heard that Mr Smollan had struggled with his mental health and substance abuse but had been engaging with services and taking medication.

An inquest was led by area coroner Sonia Hayes in Essex Coroner’s Court, Chelmsford, yesterday.

Gary was living in Harp accommodation and Eileen Jarvis, support worker at Harp, went to check on his wellbeing on the day of his death.

Ms Hayes read out a statement from Ms Jarvis.

It read: “We became aware of calls for a welfare check due to concerns from the police and Gary’s father. On arrival, my colleague and I made our way to the flat.

“We knocked and said staff were doing a welfare check but there was no reply so we let ourselves in and I saw his feet on the floor with his dog Brownie cowering on the bed. I leaned down to check his pulse and asked my colleague to call the ambulance.”

An altercation the day before his death caused Gary to become distressed, as he requested more details on his case from police, the inquest heard.

Gary called police and told them “half the time I am suicidal”.

An ambulance attended and deemed Gary did not need to be taken to hospital.

Police Sgt Kathryn Selby gave evidence at the inquest.

She said: “Essex Police has protocol and will respond with a real immediate risk, it’s not just that someone, however distressed, means you are going to make an attendance.

“I assessed there wasn’t a real risk of suicide, at that point he just wanted to speak to a particular officer who was off duty.”

Gary was previously diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder and depression.

Ms Hayes concluded Gary committed suicide with a medical cause of death as a drug overdose.