Property developer had a history of alcohol abuse, inquest hears

PUBLISHED: 15:03 16 January 2020 | UPDATED: 10:56 27 January 2020

Paul Garner, who died on April 10 2019. Photo: Submitted by Mark Garner

Paul Garner, who died on April 10 2019. Photo: Submitted by Mark Garner

submitted by Mark Garner

A property developer with a history of alcohol abuse had been advised to self-refer to a substance abuse charity before he died at home, an inquest has heard.

Paul Garner, 52, was found unresponsive at the bottom of the stairs of his home in Saham Hills, near Watton, on April 10, 2019.

At an inquest into his death, held at Norfolk Coroner's Court in Norwich on Thursday, Jacqueline Lake, senior coroner for Norfolk, heard evidence from one of Mr Garner's neighbours, a police officer who was called to his home and medical professionals involved in his care prior to his death.

In a written statement read to the court, Mandy Schutt, one of Mr Garner's neighbours, told how on April 9 she had visited him to help him with some admin work.

She said upon arriving she believed Mr Garner had been drinking because she could smell alcohol on his breath and his pupils were dilated.

On April 10, Ms Schutt dropped some items off at Mr Garner's house but was unable to detect any movement from inside the property.

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Later the same day, Mr Garner's cousin visited him but was unable to enter the property and the emergency services were called.

Mr Garner was pronounced dead at the scene.

His medical cause of death was given as alcohol poisoning, hypertensive heart disease and type two diabetes.

Kevin Hanner, a service manager from Norfolk County Council's adult social services, told the court how on January 9, 2019, a medical team visited Mr Garner in his home in relation to a Mental Health Act care assessment referral.

Mr Hanner said following the meeting it was decided the best course of action would be for Mr Garner to self-refer to Change Grow Live, a substance abuse charity.

He said the conclusion of meeting was that Mr Garner may "involuntarily come to serious harm or kill himself in the context of his historic intoxication, however it was agreed that it would be both appropriate and proportionate to self refer".

"It was a sad case for all concerned," he said.

Concluding the inquest, Ms Lake said Mr Garner died an alcohol-related death.

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