Much-loved Wigan father died after epileptic seizure, inquest finds

Peter Higham was just 40 when he was found collapsed on the bedroom floor of his sister’s home on Chestnut Road, Whelley, where he had been living, on July 23.

An inquest at Bolton Coroner’s Court heard that he had been diagnosed with grand mal epilepsy at the age of 17 and had suffered seizures “intermittently”, sometimes with years between them.

He did not let it stop him living life to the full, spending time with his two daughters from a previous relationship and working as a ground worker.

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Peter Higham

His dad Anthony Higham told the inquest that he had checked his son was taking the medication correctly when he lived with him, but was aware he did not always take it when he moved out during lockdown.

His last seizure had been two years earlier, while he was working in Southport.

The inquest heard that Mr Higham was found on the bedroom floor at 4.55pm on July 23 by Kieran Meehan, his friend and his partner’s sister, who had gone to the house to collect some belongings.

He realised he was not breathing and called 999.

Paramedics attended but Mr Higham could not be saved.

The coroner heard Mr Higham’s final conversation had been at 1.55pm, when he spoke to friend Andrew Fish by phone and appeared to be in high spirits.

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A post-mortem examination revealed haemorrhages in his brain which may have been caused by a grand mal seizure before he died.

Tests showed he had medication in his system, including anti-seizure medication at a lower level than would be expected if he had been keeping up with it.

The medical cause of death was recorded as epilepsy, with coroner Alan Walsh concluding that Mr Higham died of natural causes.

Mr Walsh said: “I am very sorry for Peter’s death.

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“He didn’t have regular seizures but when he had the seizures, they were clearly very severe.

“He has children and to them I am very sorry that they no longer have a father and to you, members of the family and particularly his parents, who made sure he was compliant with his medication and gave them at home, you deserve the credit and I’m sure he was very grateful for your support.

“He should be remembered as a hard-working man, because in spite of his problems at times with his health, he worked hard and was a ground worker.

“When I described him as somebody who worked hard and played hard, that’s probably what he did - he enjoyed life.”

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After the inquest, Mr Higham’s family said: “Peter was a dearly loved father, son and brother.

“He will be sadly missed by all his friends and family. He is forever in our thoughts.”

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