A coroner has ruled that a 74 year old Falmouth man who died of a paracetamol overdose just days after his wife's death did not commit suicide.

Basil Westwood-Frame, former owner of family business Westwood-Frame Carpets, was found dead in his bed at his Boslowick Road home on January 21, just four days after his wife had died in hospital after being admitted with a tumour.

His son Shaun told an inquest at Truro City Hall that when his mother died his father "couldn't quite get his head around it," but when they got in the car to leave the hospital "it hit him like a ton of bricks."

He said: "He couldn't believe, and I don't think he wanted to believe it."

"He was confused and in denial, but I think in the back of his head he knew."

He told the inquest that his father, who had been on anti-depressants and the painkiller co-codamol for neck and back pain, had had his medication regulated by his wife, as the family believed he had a form of vascular dementia and he would sometimes get confused about when he had taken his tablets.

Mr Westwood-Frame said although his father would take pills and then forget he had taken them, he had never seen him intentionally take extra medication, although he had been heard to say he had "doubled up."

Although Mr Westwood-Frame was erratic about where he would take his pills, and would often leave half-full packets around the house, his son said that when he found his father's body there was no sign he had taken a lot of medication at once.

Mr Westwood-Frame also told the inquest he doubted his father would have taken his own life as the family had been making plans for the future.

He said: "Dad would talk about selling the house, building a granny flat on mine.

"But Mel [Shaun's wife] said we have got to keep an eye on dad, because he's depressed."

"But he said to us last time we spoke 'I won't do anything stupid.'"

He added: "We've just had a baby boy, he wanted to see him grow up, and take him sailing."

Police officers were not sent to the house until several days after Basil's death, and it was reported that no note or sign of suicide was found, and there were no suspicious circumstances.

Consultant pathologist Dr Ilona Hopkins said a post mortem found paracetamol levels of 77mg per litre in Mr Westwood-Frame's blood, far above the 10 to 25mg considered therapeutic, but said that it would be difficult to know how high the level had been at the time he had died, or over what period of time he had taken the drug.

She gave the cause of death as multiple organ failure due to paracetamol overdose and said that the painkiller, a constituent of co-codamol, may have been taken over several hours or days.

Recording a verdict of drug related death, assistant coroner Barrie van den Berg ruled out "any question of suicide" and said "this was an accidental overdose."