Alcohol can kill, coroner warns

A CORONER has warned of the dangers of alcohol following inquests into the deaths of two Suffolk residents.David Baxter, of Macaulay Road, died at his home on January 9 this year when he inhaled his own vomit after a heavy drinking session.

By Jo Macdonald

A CORONER has warned of the dangers of alcohol following inquests into the deaths of two Suffolk residents.

David Baxter, of Macaulay Road, died at his home on January 9 this year when he inhaled his own vomit after a heavy drinking session.

Meanwhile, Ingrid Sach, of Iken, near Woodbridge, was found dead at her home on January 17. The cause of death was shown to be liver damage due to previous alcohol consumption.

At the inquest into the death of Mr Baxter, held at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday >, the court heard that police were called to the 34-year-old's home on January 9, where they found him dead.

Officers found evidence of a heavy drinking session in his living room and were initially suspicious about the circumstances surrounding his death.

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Following an investigation and post mortem, however, police concluded the death was not untoward.

Home Office Pathologist Dr Michael Heath told the court he had carried out the post mortem on Mr Baxter, who suffered asthma, and found regurgitated food in his air passage.

Toxicology tests also showed him to have a level of 485 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood, more than six times over the legal drink drive limit.

Dr Heath concluded the cause of death was "inhalation of gastric content due to alcohol intoxication" saying that Mr Baxter had become unconscious as a result of the level of alcohol in his system and then vomited.

Recording a verdict of accidental death Ipswich coroner, Peter Dean, said: "We seem to have here a death that emphasises the hazards of alcohol consumption, particularly to this degree. There is a considerable risk arising."

In the inquest of Ingrid Sach, the court was told the 45-year-old had been found dead at the bottom of the stairs at her Iken home on January 17.

She was found by her partner, Keith Innes, with who she had been out the previous night and who had become alarmed when her curtains remained closed and he had been unable to contact her.

Her brother Dr Michael Sach said she had asthma, smoked and drank quite a bit, and although she had told him she had been attending her local hospital over the previous year, she had never suffered chronic ill health.

A post mortem showed Ms Sach's liver was very fatty, showing changes commonly associated with chronic alcohol abuse, and pathologist Dr Heath concluded this was the cause of death.

Mr Dean said he was unable to record a verdict of accidental death or death by natural causes and instead said: "Ingrid Sach died as a consequence of liver changes following previous alcohol consumption."

He added: "The message here really is one of adapting safer drinking levels."

In a third inquest held yesterday, Mr Dean recorded a verdict of suicide on the death of Peter Dixon.

Mr Dixon, 40, of Margate Road, Ipswich, was found dead in his car in Norwich Road, Thwaite, on January 3. A hose pipe was connected to the exhaust and went threw the boot to the front seat where Mr Dixon was found slumped.

His partner, Anne Marie Coppinger, told the court he had given her no indication of what he intended to do, although she later found out he had cancelled his direct debits, handed in his notice at work and used a knife to cut himself out of their photographs.

She said: "He never suffered from depression. In fact he was one of the most confident people I had encountered.

"He gave me no indication of anything untoward."

Recording his verdict, Mr Dean, said: "He both understood and intended the consequences of his actions."

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