Pensioner choked to death at home

Eastbourne Magistrates Courts (Law Courts) October 18th 2012 E42155N ENGSUS00120130830151812
Eastbourne Magistrates Courts (Law Courts) October 18th 2012 E42155N ENGSUS00120130830151812

A 70-year-old man from Peacehaven died after choking on a hot cross bun, an inquest has heard.

David Widdowson was at his home in Woodlands Close on March 3, 2015, when he began choking. Despite the best efforts of his wife and paramedics, there was little anyone could do for him and he was pronounced dead at the scene a short while later.

At an inquest into his death held at Eastbourne Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, October 22, his wife of 37 years told the court how he had problems swallowing following two strokes in 2012 and 2013.

After the first stroke in September 2012, Mr Widdowson had no speech and could not swallow. He was kept in hospital to be given nutrients and medication through a stomach plug but during his stay, contracted pneumonia on two occasions.

After returning home in December 2012, Mr Widdowson had a carer who would visit daily to help with his recovery, and he did improve. However, in May 2013, he suffered a bad stroke and was paralysed down his left side. From then, he required 24/7 care.

On the day of his death, Mrs Widdowson had stepped into the kitchen for a moment when she heard a noise. She ran back into the living room where Mr Widdowson was heaving. She phoned an ambulance and tried getting the food out of his mouth and clearing his airway but to no avail. She told the court he was usually comfortable eating hot cross buns but it seemed he had taken too big a bite.

A post mortem gave his cause of death as food asphyxiation, with previous strokes contributing factors. Coroner Alan Craze recorded a conclusion of accidental death.

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