Doncaster man’s jelly treat led to choking death

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A disabled Doncaster man who enjoyed eating raw jelly died when he choked while chewing on a block of the sweet.

Since suffering brain injuries in a suicide bid more than 20 years ago, former miner Patrick Finley was treated to a block of jelly once a month, said his widow and carer Janet.

But when she left the room for less than five minutes at their Stainforth home on January 31 she returned to find the 58-year- old choking.

Paramedics could not revive him and he died shortly afterwards in Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

An inquest in Doncaster was told Mr Finley suffered catastrophic brain injuries from carbon monoxide poisoning when he was 37 after he piped exhaust fumes into his car.

Mrs Finley said she never knew why he tried to take his own life.

The poisoning left him with a severe brain injury, needing 24-hour care, and unable to wash and dress himself.

It also brought on epilepsy and he would have seizures once or twice a week, in which he was ‘in a trance’ for eight to 12 hours at a time.

His eating was affected, said Mrs Finley, aged 49, of Oldfield Crescent, and his food had to be cut up small and eaten slowly.

“He would eat fast and shovel his food into his mouth and on occasions he would choke on his food,” she said.

She said there were episodes in 2012 and 2013 of him choking on steak and a sandwich, but they had managed to dislodge the obstruction.

On the evening he died Mr Finley, who spent 22 years at Hatfield Colliery, was given a pack of raw jelly which was ‘something he enjoyed eating, once a month’, his wife said.

Mrs Finley said she reminded him to eat it slowly but she left the room for about five minutes and when she came back his lips were turning blue. “I knew there was something seriously wrong,” she said.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Deputy Coroner Fred Curtis said there ‘must have been very obvious problems and difficulties in looking after Mr Finley in this lengthy period’.

“The raw jelly was something he enjoyed, which he had had on a significant number of occasions without incident, in the cube form taken out of a packet.

“It must have been very distressing for Mrs Finley to find him. She had looked after him successfully for such a long period of time,” said Mr Curtis.