Drugs led to man eating stones

A CONCOCTION of drugs may have caused a depressed 21-year-old man to swallow stones on a Suffolk beach, an inquest heard today.John Doig, of Barley Lands, Aldeburgh, was found frothing at the mouth with several pebbles in his hands at about 10.

A CONCOCTION of drugs may have caused a depressed 21-year-old man to swallow stones on a Suffolk beach, an inquest heard today.

John Doig, of Barley Lands, Aldeburgh, was found frothing at the mouth with several pebbles in his hands at about 10.30pm on August 8.

When approached by police officers, he continued to move his hands towards his mouth to swallow the objects.

When paramedics removed them from his throat, he suffered a cardiac arrest and was in a coma by the time he arrived at Ipswich Hospital.


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Despite intensive care, he never regained consciousness in the next few weeks and died in the early hours of October 8. An x-ray revealed several stones were lodged in his stomach.

At the inquest into his death, held at Ipswich police station today, greater Suffolk coroner Dr Peter Dean said the tragedy should serve as a warning to those who use drugs.

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Investigations found quantities of ecstasy and cannabis in his body, while he had alcohol in his system that would have made him twice the drink-drive limit.

Dr Dean said: "What we have here is a tragic accident occurring against a background of alcohol abuse with the presence of drugs in his system.

"This must act as a warning of the very severe dangers of these drugs and the very acute problems they can cause."

He went on to list a number of side-effects of drug use, including anxiousness, hallucinations and depression, that could have caused Mr Doig to swallow the stones.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Dr Dean said he had died from a combination of pneumonia, brain damage and his upper airway being blocked.

Mr Doig, who was found near to the Cross Keys pub, in Crabbe Street, had worked at the 152 restaurant in Aldeburgh for a short time before his death. He had previously worked as a chef in the Cotswold area.

He had moved to Suffolk after leaving his family in Scotland, where they lived in Millport, on the Isle of Cumbrae.

The inquest was told his family had suffered two devastating losses in quick succession that caused a great deal of upset to Mr Doig, who spoke with a stammer.

His grandmother had died during late 2003, closely followed by his step-father, who had brought him up since the age of nine, in early 2004.

It was then that he started drinking heavily, although he remained close to his family and would always phone home when feeling upset.

On the night of his death, he was known to have sought drugs. He left the Cross Keys pub to watch a fireworks display that was part of the town's carnival. He was later found by a passer-by, who alerted emergency services.

His mother, Joanne Doig, who was present at the inquest, said her son's death had devastated the close-knit island community where he grew up.

In a written statement, she said: "We all know how much John was loved in Millport because the support we've received since his death has been overwhelming."

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