A POPULAR magician died after taking an accidental overdose of medications, an inquest has heard.

Darren O’Neill was found dead in his flat on Bevan Court, on Dunlop Street, in May this year.

Known as ‘Magic Darren’, the 38-year-old had forged a successful career as a magician since the age of 21 and had also been a professional golfer.

On Monday, an inquest at Warrington Coroners Court heard that the former St Gregory’s Catholic High School pupil had been left unable to play golf after undergoing a full replacement of his left hip in 2014.

The court heard that he was left in ‘substantial pain and discomfort’ after the operation and struggled to sleep - leading to him taking medications prescribed to other people.

Mr O’Neill’s mum Donna, who described her son as ‘gentle and captivating’ in the wake of his death, said: “His life was changed dramatically.

“In the end he was only really happy when he was performing.

“It all came down to when he couldn’t play golf and had to give up his job teaching golf.”

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On the evening of May 8, Mr O’Neill was struggling to stay awake while eating and Ms O’Neill helped him to bed.

After returning home from work shortly before 1.30pm the following day, she found her son was still in bed and was unable to wake him.

The court heard that magic was a ‘passion and an obsession’ for Mr O’Neill, who had also planned to start his own memorabilia business.

Assistant coroner for Cheshire Peter Sigee ruled that his death was drug-related and caused by a combined toxicity of morphine, phenazepam and codeine.

Mr Sigee said: “Darren didn’t find his medication fully effective, and from time to time would obtain medication from other sources to help him to sleep and address his symptoms.

“His liver was unable to break down these substances and he died in his sleep at his home.

“There was no evidence of third party involvement, or that he had deliberately taken his own life.”