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Man died in Basingstoke care home after years of heavy drinking
9:20am Saturday 11th August 2012 in News
A PENSIONER died in a care home after years of heavy drinking, an inquest heard.
Cyril Byers, who was overweight and had previously suffered a stroke and a heart attack, died in his sleep after drinking half a bottle of brandy.
The cause of death was listed by coroner Andrew Bradley as heart disease and coronary artery atheroma, with underlying chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
An inquest at Alton Magistrates’ Court heard that Mr Byers was regularly given six doubles of brandy and port at lunchtime and six doubles in the evening by staff at Deeside care home, Alliston Way, South Ham, Basingstoke, at his request, but that other alcohol was kept away from him and out of his room. Staff bought the alcohol as part of his weekly shop, which Mr Byers paid for.
Michelle Ralph, assistant unit manager at Deeside, who was duty manager at the time, said that on May 13 at 7.50am, she had seen Mr Byers reaching into his locker and taking out half a bottle of brandy. By the time she reached his room, she said, the brandy was gone. She added: “It was pretty obvious he was drunk.”
The inquest heard that Mr Byers was later sick on himself, refused to be cleaned up and refused his lunch. At 1.50pm, Mrs Ralph checked on him and heard him snoring. At 2.45pm, when her colleague Christopher Merrell checked in on Mr Byers, he was found lying dead on his bed.
Mr Merrell said he viewed the 72 year-old as a friend. He said: “He had been with us (in the care home) for over 10 years. I saw him daily...we were co-conspirators.”
The coroner read out a statement from PC Louise Kempster, of Basingstoke police station, which confirmed there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.
Mr Byer’s daughter Sarah Merritt said: “He was a good guy. He had his moments. He was quite stubborn, and he was his own man. If he didn’t want to do something, he would refuse point blank.”
Recording a verdict of death by natural causes, North-East Hampshire coroner Andrew Bradley said: “Alcohol was not the cause of death, but it doesn’t help.”