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Wednesday 24 September 2014

Man (30) dies after living on diet of chocolate, wine, Coca-Cola and Pringles alone

Published 09/10/2013 | 18:08

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A MAN who lived on Pringles, chocolate, wine and Coca-Cola died after his internal organs wasted away as a result of his poor diet, an inquest heard.

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Fionn Clarke (30) was found dead at his apartment on Melville Way in Finglas, Dublin 11, on September 11 last year. He had been dead for at least a week.

Dublin Coroner’s Court heard that he suffered from depression and alcoholism and was a near recluse who had largely cut himself off from his family.

His father Michael Clarke said that he would call to Fionn’s apartment every three or four weeks bringing him “sweets and coke” because he would not eat anything else. There was no electricity or heat in the apartment and whenever he would clean it, Fionn would allow it to get dirty again, said Mr Clarke. His son worked at the Revenue Commissioners but walked out on his job and was living off savings but these had run out, he added.

Mr Clarke said that Fionn would make sure he was not in the apartment when he called and he had not seen him since Christmas. He let himself into the apartment on September 11 and discovered his son lying naked on the couch. He could tell straight away he was dead, he said.

He told the coroner that every time the family attempted to help Fionn, they met a “dead end”. The court heard that he was not anorexic and had repeatedly said he did not want to live but did not want die by suicide.

At one stage, he was involuntarily admitted to a psychiatric hospital. However, he was released when an independent consultant said they could not find any overt features of psychosis or depression that would make him detainable under the Mental Health Act.

Garda Sean Kelly said that when gardaí went into the apartment they were met with an “overpowering stench” and “overwhelmed” by the amount of rubbish in the living room.

“The floor was completely covered over by empty sweet wrappers, Pringles tins and empty bottles of wine. It was so bad that gardaí were unable to see the floor and had to wade through the rubbish,” he said.

The pathologist who carried out the post-mortem Dr Eamon Leen was unable to identify a definite cause of death but found that the dead man‘s internal organs had atrophied as a result of his poor diet, especially the heart. He weighed eight and a half stone when he was found and gardaí noted that he was visibly malnourished.

Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said that this was “a case of self-neglect for psychological reasons” where the dead man had gotten into “a lifestyle of not looking after himself” and had a "lack of motivation to live toward the end of his life”. Fionn’s death was a “profound tragedy”, he said, returning a narrative verdict outlining the facts.

 

Gareth Naughton

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