Man’s tragic demise after loss of employment

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A WIGAN man who developed a drinking problem after being made redundant died following an accidental fall, an inquest heard.

Mark Rhodes, of Tunstall Lane, Pemberton, who suffered a bleed on the brain and a fractured skull, was found by police officers in his kitchen in March.

At a Bolton inquest, Coroner Geoffrey Saul heard that Mr Rhodes, who was born in Rotherham, had fallen down the stairs and injured himself in the months leading up his death.

He had been under the influence of alcohol before that fall and in the hours leading up to his death, the court was told.

Mr Rhodes’ widow, Oksana, said in a statement that her husband had started drinking heavily as he struggled to find work after being made redundant twice in 2010.

The pair had discussed relocating to South Africa, where he had found temporary work with a construction company, she said.

But she became increasingly concerned with her 48-year-old husband’s drinking after he initially brushed off her worries by telling her he started because he felt “lonely” while out in South Africa.

Their relationship became strained and following Mr Rhodes’s fall down the stairs earlier this year, the pair separated.

He had started drinking during the day and hiding bottles of vodka around the house, Oksana Rhodes said.

Police visited Mr Rhodes’s house on March 27 because staff at his current employers – Direct Tyre Sales – had voiced concerns for his welfare.

Det Con Kevin Telford told the court that work colleagues noticed a change of behaviour and suspected Mr Rhodes may be an alcoholic.

Pathologist David Barker, who performed the post-mortem examination, explained that Mr Rhodes had alcohol in his system and several bruises.

He said: “Externally there was some bruising on the body, none of them raised any suspicions.

“People who have problems with alcohol do tend to show bruising around the body.

“The scalp on the left side showed bruising and there was a fracture to the skull with bleeding on the brain and further injuries, in-keeping with the trauma to the head.

“Traces of alcohol were found – roughly to the level of 100mg – which is above the drink drive limit of 80mg.

“So he may have been under the influence of alcohol in the hours leading to his death.”

When asked by the coroner if the level of alcohol in Mr Rhodes’s system could have made him “unsteady on his feet”, Dr Barker replied: “Yes.”

Mr Saul recorded a verdict of accidental death.