A father-of-one took a fatal overdose of prescription medication after becoming increasingly worried about his finances when his benefits were cut, an inquest heard this afternoon.

North London Coroner’s Court heard how Michael Connolly, of Station Road, Hendon, took a massive overdose of pills, consuming more than 13 times the fatal dose on October 31 – his birthday.

The 60-year-old plumber, who had a history of alcohol abuse and depression, was found dead at his flat by his sister after relatives became concerned when they could not contact him.

The inquest heard how Mr Connolly had recently been told by the local authority his benefits were due to be cut, a ruling he was planning to appeal with the help of his family.

Mr Connolly had been admitted to a rehab programme for alcohol abuse in 2009 and had various stages of recovery and relapse.

In 2012 he was given prescription medicine for severe back pain and told his GP he was struggling with his drink dependency.

Family members explained to the inquest that, although he could be reckless at times, it was “not in his nature” to want to kill himself.

Coroner Andrew Walker recorded an open conclusion on Mr Connolly’s death, explaining that he could not be sure beyond doubt that his intention that day had been to commit suicide.