Saturday, May 07, 2016

Man died in bath after inhaling fumes from home-brew hooch

A grandfather making hooch in his bathroom collapsed into the bath and died after inhaling fumes from the home-brew. Ronald Matthews, 72, was making 60% proof alcohol at his bungalow in Rhoshirwaun on the Llyn Peninsula, Gwynedd, wales, when he was found dead. An inquest at Caernarfon heard Mr Matthews had a boiler in his bathroom which had clear pipes running to both a glass jar in the sink and into his bath.

There was also a three-gallon brewing bucket and electrical equipment to help him make the alcohol. Deputy coroner Nicola Jones said Mr Matthews’ grandson Hollis Matthews had become concerned about his grandather on January 26 this year when he could not be contacted. At 5.14pm that day he called North Wales Police control room. At 5.50pm PC Goronwy Williams, based at Nefyn, arrived at Mr Matthews’ home, and had to force his way in.

He headed to the bathroom where Mr Matthews was found dead, submerged in the bath, with the water still warm. Concluding his evidence PC Williams said there was “nothing suspicious” in the house although the set up in the bathroom was “unusual”. Around the bathroom was a glass jug and other vials of alcohol which were at 60.2%, 30.6% and 26.8% proof. Pathologist Dr Mark Lord conducted Mr Matthews’ post mortem. He said: “There was a substantial degree of decomposition of the body for someone who had been found relatively quickly, as evidenced by the fact the bath water was still warm.

“His cardiovascular system was entirely normal, there was no water in his airways or his lungs.” Dr Lord said there was no evidence to suggest that Mr Matthews had drowned. “What is most likely to have happened is he has inhaled some of the fumes from his own alcohol and the sudden effect of this has caused him to become unconscious and fall into his bath, scalding him. There was no sign of a struggle or that he tried to get out of the bath.” Deputy coroner Nicola Jones recorded a verdict of accidental death. She added: “In a steamy small bathroom inhalation of the fumes from that still could have caused immediate intoxication and he then fell into the bath of scalding water.”

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