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Inquest: Man died after choking on his vomit
1:20pm Thursday 19th July 2012 in Chesham
A MAN died after choking on his vomit in his sleep, an inquest heard.
The body of William Gregory, 35, was discovered in bed in his mother’s home in Milton Road, Chesham on December 22.
The inquest heard how Mr Gregory, who worked for a tree surgeon firm, returned home at about 9.20pm on December 21 with a friend.
His mother, Julie Wyatt, told the inquest that she noted her son had been drinking but he was not drunk when he arrived home.
Mr Gregory ate his dinner and, after his friend left, he had a bath.
He went to bed shortly after midnight and, after Ms Wyatt was later awoken by his ‘loud snoring’, she went into his room to adjust his bedding. He was sleeping with his legs hanging off the bed.
Ms Wyatt got up to go to the toilet at about 4.12am on December 22 and checked in on her son, who had ‘changed colour’, the inquest heard.
She called paramedics, who attempted to pump food out of his airwaves, but he died.
The cause of death was given as respiratory arrest due to aspiration of gastric contents, and alcohol and methadone toxicity. Mrs Wyatt disputed that her son would have ever taken methadone.
The court heard that Mr Gregory had 0.50mgs of alcohol – which is under the legal drink driving limit – and 0.25mgs of methadone in his blood.
The Buckinghamshire Coroner Richard Hulett said this reading is lower than the amount given as ‘maintenance’ to recovering drug addicts.
Ms Wyatt said her son “never took” methadone, a drug which she said her son despised. She told the court that she believed someone had somehow plied her son with the drug.
Recording a verdict of misadventure, Mr Hulett said: “When someone aspirates they bring up food and it goes into the lungs.
“Usually that happens to people who are drunk but he wasn’t drunk, he’d had a drink but not a great deal.
“Alcohol and methadone suppresses the responses that normally keep food down, so someone in a deep sleep would suddenly bring it up and for whatever reason, they won’t wake up.
“There was considerable bad luck in this.”