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US war veteran found dead in flat

PUBLISHED: 17:00 15 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:33 03 March 2010

VIETNAM War veteran Gary Anderson may have forgotten to take vital medication for seizures before he died in a Felixstowe flat, an inquest heard today.

VIETNAM War veteran Gary Anderson may have forgotten to take vital medication for seizures before he died in a Felixstowe flat, an inquest heard today.

Mr Anderson, 58, was found dead in the St Andrews Road flat in February this year.

At the inquest deputy coroner Roger Stewart recorded a verdict of natural causes after toxicology results revealed there were no traces of any drugs in his system.

Mr Anderson's wife Wendy told Mr Stewart how her husband had suffered from ill health for many years, believed to be as a result of coming into contact with Agent Orange during his Vietnam service with the USA Airforce.

Agent Orange was the codename for a herbicide that was developed for the military, mainly for use in tropical climates.

As well as suffering from fits, he also had skin cancer, which has been linked to contact with Agent Orange.

However a pathology report stated that so far, Agent Orange has not been linked to epileptic fits, which was said to be the cause of death.

Although they lived in California, Mrs Anderson told the inquest how she and her husband had bought the Felixstowe flat because they loved England so much.

She said: "We both enjoyed being here.

"When my mother died and Gary's dad died, we took the small inheritance we had and bought a flat so we could come here regularly."

In January, shortly before Mr. Anderson's death the couple had visited Scotland.

Mrs Anderson said: "Gary had not been well while we were in Scotland.

"He would suffer a lot of pain and get hold of the back of his head and his eyes would close up.

"He would just rock backwards and forwards in absolute pain."

She said that like other Vietnam veterans he had also suffered from seizures that could last from several minutes to an hour and the affects could last for a week.

When the couple returned to Felixstowe from their Scotland trip on February 22, Mr Anderson had poured himself a whiskey and gone into his room to sleep.

In the morning he went into his wife's room, but as he was snoring loudly she moved into his room.

When she returned at around 7am she found her husband had died.

On recording the verdict, Mr Stewart said: "It is quite clear that at the time of death there was no trace of drugs to control his illness and therefore he was at risk of a seizure at any time.

"It seems he succumbed to such a seizure and that was the cause of his death."

n. An inquest into the death of Matthew Brooks was opened and adjourned today.

The 27-year-old was found dead at Trent House, Upper Brook Street, Ipswich, on Wednesday afternoon.


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