Coroner's warning after drink tragedy

By Gareth Dennison | 04/06/2010 0 comments

Coroner's warning after drink tragedy

A CORONER has warned against excessive drinking after a young man with everything to live for choked to death on his own vomit in the bath.

Ryan Flanaghan (22) was found by his heartbroken mum Heather and blood tests found enough alcohol to put him more than three times over the drink drive limit.

After her son's inquest on Wednesday, heartbroken Mrs Flanaghan sobbed: "You just never think this is going to happen to you."

Ryan, of Elder Drive, Sunnyside, had a debilitating condition leaving him unable to work or play sport and this weighed down his self worth, the hearing heard.

Mrs Flanaghan said her son's drinking had become such a problem that she would no longer keep alcohol in the house, sometimes locking it in the boot of her car.

The Rotherham Deputy Coroner, Mr Fred Curtis, said: "Those who drink an excess of alcohol should be aware of the dangers.

"Young people in particular may not be aware of the dangers and they may reach a point where there is inhalation of vomit and by then they maybe able to do nothing about it."

Ryan was a popular face at the Joker pub, on Blackthorn Avenue, where he played for the pool team.

He had suffered from Perthes Diseasea bone softening condition since the age of seven and walked with a limp despite two operations.

A tearful Mrs Flanaghan added: "Ryan never complained about it, but it did give him very low esteem.

"He felt he missed out on things, like playing football and having a decent job, and when hed had a drink he felt this more.

"Over the last two years, Ryan's drinking became a problem. He collected his benefits once a fortnight and spent the money on lager or cider.

"When he was drunk he went very quiet and would stare into space. I didnt like to see him in drink, and it got to the point where I wouldnt leave lager or cider in the house."

Ryan went with his mum to the Joker for a few drinks last New Years Eve but later sneaked away to a house party.

He went home alone the next day, after visiting his brother Sean to watch darts on TV together.

Mrs Flanaghan stayed with Ryan's step father Paul Mills in Maltby, and they returned to her home on January 2.

Mr Mills said: "Heather shouted me to come upstairs, and I could see straight away that Ryan was dead."

Pathologist Prof John Lee said that the cause of death was inhalation of vomit, with alcohol intoxication a factor.

Mr Curtis, who recorded a verdict of accidental death, said:"The alcohol level was almost three-and-a-half times the permitted level for those who drive on our roads.
Getting about, and the ability to take decisions and look after himself, were seriously affected.
"He went for a bath and at that stage he vomited but was in such a state of intoxication that he was not able to dealt with it properly. It was an unintended consequence of what he had been doing.

"This was not a natural death. I can only conclude that here was a course of action undertaken by this young man, without which he would still be alive today."

More than 1,100 Facebook users have joined a group in memory of Ryan and after the hearing his family described him as a fantastic lad.


No messages

Please login or register to enter your message click here

The fact you are here means you are interested in what goes on in your town.

We want to continue holding local authorities to account, attending court and council meetings, as well as providing breaking news, competitions and offers – but it costs money. Online advertising does not cover costs, therefore we feel the need to ask for your help in ensuring we can provide the best possible coverage, online and in our printed products.
For as little as £1, you can support the Rotherham Advertiser – and it only takes a minute.
Click here to support local news.

Spotted something we should know about?

Call our Newsdesk on 01709 768146
Or email
Message us on Facebook