Excessive alcohol killed man found in town churchyard, inquest hears

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A MAN whose body was found slumped over a gravestone had drunk a lethal level of alcohol, an inquest was told last Thursday.

The discovery of the body of Richard Gill, 44, in the cemetery of St Wulfram’s Church in Grantham in October 2011, initially sparked a murder investigation.

But the inquest at Lincoln Cathedral Centre was told that the subsequent police investigation revealed no evidence that anyone else was involved and the death of Mr Gill, who had spent the evening in the Blue Pig, was drink related.

Earlier Mr Gill had five pints of bitter in the pub but towards the end of the evening appeared drunk and incoherent.

Staff and customers offered to get him a taxi home or an ambulance but he rejected the help saying he only lived a short distance away.

Mr Gill was reported missing after failing to arrive back at his home in Lodge Way, Grantham.

Pc Peter McAlindon subsequently began a search retracing the route Mr Gill would have taken from the pub. Near to St Wulfram’s he was approached by a concerned couple who reported the body.

Pc McAlindon said: “He was absolutely stone cold. I tried to take a pulse but quickly formed the opinion that he had died.”

More police and paramedics arrived and the area was sealed off to await the arrival of forensic staff.

The incident was treated as a potential murder until a post mortem result revealed Mr Gill had 337 mgs of alcohol per 100 mls of blood, which is more than four times the legal limit for drivers. The cause of death was given as pulmonary oedema and congestion due to gross excessive alcohol consumption.

Det Insp Keith Blakey of Lincolnshire CID told the inquest: “Initially I considered the possibility of murder. I received an early indication from the post-mortem that the alcohol level was excessively high. I was then as satisfied as I could be that Richard Gill died as a result of excessive alcohol consumption.”

West Lincolnshire coroner Stuart Fisher recorded a verdict of death as a result of non-dependant abuse of alcohol. He said the alcohol reading was of a level associated with acute fatal toxicity.