Man collapsed and died after binge drinking

A 51-YEAR-OLD man who had a history of depression and alcoholism died after a drinking binge, an inquest has heard.

Gary Stephens, of Seaside, collapsed at his flat and was pronounced dead in the ambulance on the way to Eastbourne DGH on October 3, 2008.

An inquest into Mr Stephens death was held at Eastbourne Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.

Coroner Alan Craze heard how Mr Stephens had self-harmed in the past, been prescribed anti-depressants, suffered from insomnia and had a drink problem.

On October 3 he was drinking alcohol with his partner of two weeks, Marcus Newton, at his Seaside flat.

Mr Newton told police he had been drinking with Mr Stephens for most of the evening and the pair had been talking for around 15 minutes when Mr Stephens collapsed on the sofa.

Mr Newton was due to give evidence at Tuesday's inquest but failed to attend. Mr Craze said he would not adjourn the inquest because he did not believe Mr Newton would be able to provide additional information.

Pathologist Keith Ramesar found Mr Stephens to have a slightly congested liver but found no evidence of any natural disease or serious injury.

Toxicologist Andrew Smith found 320mcg of alcohol in 100ml of blood – four times over the legal drink drive limit.

Mr Craze said he did not believe the level of alcohol found would be fatal.

He recorded an open verdict and said, "Not knowing or having any reliable evidence as to what happened, and in the absence of serious liver disease, I cannot confidently say that he died due to alcohol toxicity."