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Thursday, February 25, 1999 Published at 19:08 GMT


Drinkers shaved dead man's head

An inquest has heard how a man in a pub died while friends partied around him and played practical jokes on him.

They shaved one side of Ian Clifton's head and took photographs of him with an inflatable doll.

Mr Clifton, 35, had been dead for up to an hour at the Jervis Lumb pub close to his home in Norfolk Park, Sheffield.

Last October he called at the pub and joined a birthday party for a member of the pub's fishing team.

By 10pm, Mr Clifton had become unconscious after drinking about 11 pints of lager and a quantity of home-made punch throught the course of the day, the inquest heard.

Duty of care

As he lay out cold in the pub, his friends shaved one side of his head and placed an inflatable doll on him which they photographed. This was described as common practice at the pub.

Some time later an ambulance was called, and paramedics found Mr Clifton was dead.

A forensic pathologist told the inquest that he had died of acute alcoholic poisoning.

Returning a verdict of accidental death contributed to by neglect, Coroner Chris Dorries expressed concern that such an incident could occur in a busy public house.

He plans to write to Sheffield's licensing magistrates, so that they can remind other publicans of their duty of care to customers.

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