PENSIONER CHOKED TO DEATH: INQUEST

A POLEGATE man choked to death on his own vomit after drinking and taking non-prescribed anti-depressants.

Ian Hartle, 69, from Windmill Road, also suffered from chronic chest problems, but his family could not explain how he had got the anti-depressants.

In the early hours of April 8 an ambulance crew was to called his home, after his wife had found him unconscious on the toilet, an inquest heard.

Paramedics tried to revive him and he was taken straight to the DGH, but he was pronounced dead soon after arriving and it is now believed he died before the ambulance had even arrived.

A post mortem examination showed that Mr Hartle had an alcohol level of 101mg in 100ml of blood.

The legal limit for driving is 80mg.

Dr Keith Ramesar, pathologist at the DGH, also found traces of the anti-depressant drug Mirtazapine in his system.

Dr Ramesar said, 'In my view the interaction of the alcohol and this drug have either caused him to regurgitate or be sick, and then breathe in the vomit.'

But he had not been given the anti-depressants by his doctor.

Anne Hartle, his wife, said she did not know he had taken the drugs.

Coroner Alan Craze said, 'It may be he said to someone, 'I'm feeling foul at the moment,' and someone gave him the pills and said, 'Here, try a couple of these.'

Mr Hartle, a retired greenkeeper who was born in West Ruislip, Middlesex, also had a severe lung condition (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and had to use two inhalers.

The coroner stated that if Mr Hartle had not suffered from this he probably would not have died because he would have been able to clear his airways.

Mr Craze concluded, 'I think his death was accidental.

'I think he was drowsy, and the combination of the alcohol and anti-depressants had made him feel this way.

'And a combination of coughing, trying to use his inhaler and bending over to reach his inhaler, which put pressure on his diaphragm, I think made him sick.'

The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.