Mirror Online: LONDON, England – A carer who died suddenly had been drinking a “particularly large volume of Coca-Cola” in his final days which may have contributed to his death, an inquest heard.

On the day of his death, Stephen Payne, 61, had been to the pub in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, with his partner Tina Carpenter after a trip to the grocery store.

They ordered a meal but in what was branded as “out of character” for him, he was unable to finish it so he ordered two Coca-Colas instead.

But Mr Payne, who was epileptic and diabetic, died within hours of returning home on August 11, an inquest at Beaconsfield Coroners’ Court heard.

The carer, who was classed as obese as he weighed 105kg (16 stone) had started shaking and slurring his words and when he sat on the bedroom floor he couldn’t get back up again.

Ms Carpenter made to call an ambulance for him but he tragically refused until a neighbour came in to help and 999 was called.

By the time the ambulance arrived, it was too late and Mr Payne was declared dead.

Coroner Mr Ian Wade told the inquest: “In his final days, by drinking a particularly large volume of Coca-Cola, he perhaps inadvertently and entirely unwittingly contributed to a serious decline in his overall physical health.”

An autopsy found that Mr Payne died from multiple causes relating to his diabetes, epilepsy, obesity, and toxicity in his body.

But the court heard how over the past few years, Mr Payne had regularly cancelled appointments with his GP regarding his condition.

The inquest heard how on the day of his death, Mr Payne had been feeling tired and struggling with sore legs.

A statement read on behalf of his partner said he had developed a headache two weeks keeps prior to his death while his legs “felt tight”.

On the day he passed he was drinking “more water than usual” and when the two went shopping together at about 10:30am, he “had to keep sitting down”.

The statement continued: “At 12pm they went for a pub lunch, but he couldn’t manage to finish his meal.

“He had two Coca-Colas because he was still thirsty. This was out of character for Stephen to not finish his meal.”

The court heard how in the evening, when the pair were at home, Mr Payne had shaking hands and was very tired.

He sat down on his bedroom floor and would not get up again before starting speaking with jumbled words.

Mr Payne told Ms Carpenter that he did not want her to call an ambulance, but after a neighbour came in to help, they called one, and paramedics arrived at around 9.30pm.

He was unresponsive when they arrived and was pronounced dead 30 minutes later.

Coroner Mr Wade stated that Stephen’s inability to control his diabetes, combined with his activity earlier that day, may have been what brought on his death.

He said: “His GP clearly tried all they could to help him manage his illnesses, but he appeared to be set against keeping his appointments.

“And to that extent he unwittingly contributed to what appears to me to be nature taking its course.”

The coroner ruled that despite the number of factors involved in Mr Payne’s death, he ultimately died of natural causes.

“It’s the most appropriate, if not the most compassionate way of describing the end of Stephen’s life,” the coroner said.

“But it’s not appropriate to suggest that this life had ended for any other reason but that his time had come.”

  • Top Feature Photo: Beaconsfield Coroners’ Court