A MR England runner-up died after taking steroids before a bodybuilding event – with a coroner warning of the risks of the drug.
Ben Harnett, 37, had been married less than a year and had a five-month-old baby girl when he was discovered dead at home in Northumberland in February.
The bodybuilder, who came second in a Mr England contest, was preparing for a tough competition when he died from “self-inflicted injuries whilst influenced by steroids”, an inquest heard.
He had taken a fatal mix of cocaine and steroids, which are “known to be associated with mood disorders”, Chronicle Live reports.
Coroner Eric Armstrong said: “He was proud of his body, but became ‘over-proud’ and in attempting to make the most of his body, began to use steroids.”
The inquest was told on February 2, his dad went to his home but raised the alarm when he failed to get an answer.
A post mortem revealed there was “evidence of steroid misuse, commonly seen in association with bodybuilding”.
Recording a narrative verdict, Mr Armstrong said: “I’m quite sure that steroid taking, combined with the use of cocaine, has been a factor in Ben’s death.
“I’m satisfied that the wounds were self-inflicted, I’m not satisfied that he committed them with a clear thought process. I believe his mindset was drastically affected.
“I sincerely hope that if nothing else, Ben’s death reverberates around the bodybuilding world and people realise the risks they are taking.
“This is the loss of a life that shouldn’t have happened.”
Heartbreaking tributes poured in for “friendly giant” and ex-fusilier Ben after his tragic death.
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Mum Tish said: “It’s devastating, our lives will never be the same again. Losing a child as parents is not the way it should be.
“There will never be another Ben. I’ll never be the same without him.”
Dad Ben Snr added: “Some people like having a drink. For Ben, he enjoyed the gym. It was his life.”