Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Kitchen Sink

MAN CHOKED EATING FRENCH STICK

François Couperin - Keyboard Music 1
Performed by Angela Hewitt

AN INQUEST heard how a Middlesbrough man choked and died after stuffing bread and pâté into his mouth.

Craig Raymond Short, 52, was drinking with friends when his partner Jacqueline Boyd hid a bottle of vodka - saying he had already had too much to drink.

Mr Short became “angry” and made himself a sandwich out of a french baguette and pâté, which he began to cram down his throat.

Teesside Coroner’s Court heard how Mr Short’s friends tried to discourage him from eating so fast, but within seconds he had slipped from his chair onto the floor.

Ms Boyd, 56, of Ash Hill, Coulby Newham, told the court: “All I can remember is a big carving knife with some bread and some pâté.

“He was just stuffing it into his mouth. People passed comment and said ‘what are you doing?’

“But with it being a crusty roll it just got lodged. He hadn’t chewed any of it. He was quite angry because he couldn’t have another drink.

“He didn’t actually choke. He was sat on the chair and he just suddenly slipped forward.”

Friends frantically slapped Mr Short’s back and tried to remove the un-chewed bread from his throat, but he never regained consciousness.

Ambulance paramedic Trevor Bullen managed to remove the bread using forceps, and attempted to resucitate Mr Short for 30 minutes.

When police arrived shortly after 9.30pm, the court was told officers had to clear the living room where friends had continued to drink around the dead body.

Mr Short’s friend David Fleet, of Longhirst, Coulby Newham, said: “He started cramming sandwiches into his mouth.

“I was surprised how quickly he shoved them in his mouth. I even said ‘Come on, behave yourself’.

“I’ve never seen anyone eat this way. He did not stop to chew the food. He was like a caveman.”

He later added: “I think Craig was deliberately stuffing food into his mouth to wind Jackie up.”

Ms Boyd, who was in an on-off relationship with Mr Short for six years, said: “I was just hysterical. I was holding his hand and he was getting colder and colder. I knew that there was no chance.

“I just couldn’t believe he’d died all over a piece of bread.”

Mr Short who was off work due to long term sickness, had been drinking with friends in the Parkway Social Club on Wednesday, April 15, when he returned to his partner’s house at around 6pm.

Consultant pathologist Jan Lowe told the court that Mr Short was three times the maximum drink driving limit after consuming the equivalent of at least seven pints or 10 shorts.

He added: “It’s likely therefore that the alcohol perhaps led to some disinhibited behaviour on the part of Mr Short causing him to eat a sandwich in the manner that you have heard.

“And the alcohol perhaps caused in-coordination which could have influenced his ability to swallow.”

Dr Lowe, who carried out a post-mortem, gave the cause of death as asphyxia due to inhalation of food.

He added: “A simple first aid procedure by those in the vicinity can prevent a fatal outcome in situations such as this. The process known as the Heimlich manoeuvre can clear a blocked air passage when done quickly and effectively.”

The court heard how Mr Short had been alcohol dependant since 1984 and had suffered with depression and anxiety problems since 1994. He also had a history of overdoses.

Assistant Deputy Coroner Sam Foulks said: “I am satisfied on the evidence I have heard that he intended to eat the bread and pâté in an exaggerated fashion.

“I find that it was intentional, but it had an unintentional consequence which was for him to choke and not be able to breathe.”

Mr Foulks recorded a verdict of death by misadventure.

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