Man drank to mask fear of death

A COMMUNITY champion who drank to excess to mask his fear of death died of heart problems related to alcohol abuse, an inquest has heard.

A COMMUNITY champion who drank to excess to mask his fear of death died of heart problems related to alcohol abuse, an inquest has heard.

Graham Plumbly, a charity manager and founder of Ipswich Community Radio, had a fear of dying which led to panic and anxiety attacks.

An inquest into his death at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday heard how the father-of-four turned to drink, which resulted in the fits that caused his death.

Mr Plumbly, 51, of Elderberry Close, Ipswich suffered a cardiac arrest on January 14.

The circumstances surrounding his death were the subject of an Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation, after officers were called to the address by paramedics to restrain him shortly before he died.

Detective Inspector Kevin Hayward of Suffolk police said the investigation had found his death was not associated with the actions of the police officers that day.

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He told the court how they had put handcuffs on Mr Plumby, who worked for CSV Media, as he was in a “confused and agitated” state after collapsing on the floor and seemed unable to hear anything, leading him to resist paramedic's attempts to help him.

They changed the cuffs to nylon bands after he was injuring himself by trying to break free and on the walk to the ambulance he suffered a second fit that proved to be fatal.

Greater Suffolk Coroner Peter Dean said there were signs of chronic alcohol abuse in the evidence found in the post mortem and his behaviour shortly before his death had been totally out of character and a result of his confused and agitated state.

Recording a narrative verdict, Dr Dean said: “The act of restraint itself has not caused or contributed to the death.

“We have a picture of Graham who was known to have had some alcohol issues.

“We know there was an initial fit followed by a period of confusion and agitation. That behaviour I must stress seemed completely out of character from a man who was motivated by helping others.”

Bruce MacGregor, CSV Media's Eastern Regional Manager, read out a statement from his friends and family to the court paying tribute to his work colleague and describing their devastation at his sudden death.

“Graham was a selfless, gentle, kind, caring, funny, strong-minded, unique man - and, a major influence on everyone who met him.”

He told outside the court of how Mr Plumbly worked tirelessly for the town and its people, including successfully fighting the deportation of a now valued member of the community and setting up the CSV Media Clubhouse in Princes Street.