A CONSTRUCTION worker from Gloucestershire died suddenly of a blood clot in his heart when visiting friends in Monmouthshire, an inquest hearing was told.

Clement Dewhurst, 55, collapsed after taking a shower at his friends' Tintern home on July 6 last year, and could not be resuscitated.

Mr Dewhurst had travelled to Monmouthshire alone after finishing work the previous day and visiting a pub in his home village, Aylburton, in the Forest of Dean.

The inquest at Newport involved a written statement from Mr Dewhurst's friend, who said the 55-year-old arrived at their Tintern home with beer and wine.

He "appeared his usual self" and they talked together at the kitchen table, the friend added, though at one point, Mr Dewhurst snorted a line of white powder.

The inquest was told he had asked his friends if he could use their shower. They heard a "big thump" shortly afterwards, and found Mr Dewhurst collapsed.

Post mortem examination evidence showed signs of an enlarged heart and "significant cardiac disease", and there were traces in Mr Dewhurst's body of cocaine and cocaethylene, the latter formed when cocaine and alcohol are mixed in the body.

There was also evidence of a previous heart attack and both his parents had a history of heart problems.

In a statement, Mr Dewhurst's wife of 26 years said she was unaware of her "healthy and fit" husband taking any drugs.

Senior coroner for Gwent Caroline Saunders recorded a narrative conclusion, noting evidence that indicated Mr Dewhurst had been keen to avoid the heart problems experienced by his parents.

She concluded he had "significant underlying heart disease he was not aware of" contributed to by the "toxic effects" of the cocaine.

She agreed with a post mortem examination report that stated Mr Dewhurst died of coronary thrombosis.