herald

Sunday 20 January 2019

Man found dead on park bench 'died from drink'

A MAN found dead on a park bench on a freezing February day had a blood alcohol level more then seven times the drink driving limit.

It was the highest level ever seen by the pathologist who carried out the post mortem examination, an inquest heard.

Anthony Walsh (49), of Drumalee Park, Dublin 7 was found unresponsive on a park bench on Chesterfield Avenue in the Phoenix Park on February 7 last, one of the coldest nights of the year.

Some of Mr Walsh's possessions, including his jacket and shoes, were missing and after hearing the evidence, coroner Dr Brian Farrell said he believed there had been interference with Mr Walsh's personal property when he was unconscious or after he had passed away.

"It's our experience this not infrequently happens when someone is unconscious or dies in a lonely place. It is not a rare occurrence," said the coroner.

But the inquest at the Dublin Coroner's Court heard there was no third party involvement in Mr Walsh's death. A post-mortem by pathologist Dr Munah Sabah found Mr Walsh's death was due to the high level of alcohol he had consumed.

A toxicology screening found he had a blood alcohol level of 606mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his system at the time of his death. The drink-driving limit is 80mg.

Dr Sabah said the effects of the alcohol would have depressed his breathing. She told the inquest that any level above 300mg could be fatal.

"This is the highest level I have ever seen," she said. The coroner said it was not the highest level he had seen, but that it was a high level.

There was no evidence of any injury that could have caused death. The coroner said there was definite evidence of acute alcohol poisoning and recorded a cause of death of acute alcohol toxicity. He said there may have been hypothermia, but there were no signs of it at post-mortem. He recorded a verdict of death by misadventure.

hnews@herald.ie

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