Wednesday 22 January 2020

Man died from diet of crisps, wine and chocolate, inquest told

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

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 that Fionn Clarke (30) was found dead at his apartment on Melville Way, Finglas, Dublin, 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, Mr Clarke said.

His son, who had worked at the Revenue Commissioners, had 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 every time the family attempted to help him, they met a "dead end". The court heard he was not anorexic and had repeatedly said he did not want to live but did not want to die by suicide.

At one stage, he was involuntarily admitted to a psychiatric hospital. However, he was released when an independent consultant said no overt features of psychosis or depression could be found.

Garda Sean Kelly said that when gardai 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 gardai 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 gardai 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".

By Gareth Naughton

Irish Independent

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