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Inquest: Man dies after ingesting toxic plant material
A MAN died after ingesting toxic plant material, an inquest heard.
The body of Ian Blake was discovered by a dog walker on a slope in Bluebell Valley near Holmer Green at about 2pm on May 21.
The 52-year-old from Mulberry Court in Holmer Green was dressed in running gear and police ruled out any third-party involvement.
The findings of an initial post-mortem were “negligible” but it did reveal plant material in the stomach, small bowel and throat.
Experts asked a policeman to accompany a Buckinghamshire Coroner’s officer to retrieve plant samples from the site where Mr Blake was found.
The toxicology report that followed matched the material found in his body, urine and blood to Yew tree samples retrieved from the scene.
Dr Steven Corrigan said he had never before come across such a case and gave the cause of death as heart failure due to yew tree ingestion.
Yew tree leaves and seeds are toxic but fatal human poisoning is rare.
Symptoms of yew poisoning can include an accelerated heart rate, muscle tremors, convulsions, breathing difficulties, circulation impairment and eventually heart failure.
Concluding Thursday’s inquest at Beaconsfield Coroner’s Court, the Buckinghamshire Coroner Richard Hulett said: “It is a most unusual cause of death never before encountered by the pathologist or by myself over a number of years.
“I don’t know how this has happened or what was intended, it is most unusual to deal with. I will record a short narrative verdict.
“At 2pm on May 21 a dog walker found the body of Ian Blake in Bluebell Valley near Holmer Green. He had ingested plant material, including parts of a yew tree, and the evidence doesn’t sufficiently disclose how he died.”
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