Page last updated at 14:31 GMT, Thursday, 28 May 2009 15:31 UK

Walnut cake killed stag weekender

A 29-year-old man on a stag weekend in Brighton collapsed and died after eating a walnut cake made by a friend.

Stuart Birch, from Portsmouth, Hampshire, turned blue and struggled for breath before collapsing on the floor, an inquest heard.

He was placed in the recovery position and an ambulance was called, but he died in Royal Sussex County Hospital in the early hours of 29 March.

The Brighton and Hove Coroner recorded a verdict of misadventure.

The inquest, at Brighton County Court, heard that Mr Birch suffered an anaphylactic reaction to the cake at the end of a night out.

He and other friends ate the cake made by Carla Ware at her home after an evening in Brighton's pubs.

He could have been exposed to any of this at any time
Dr Anthony Williams

"I said to him 'eat some cake' but afterwards he appeared to be wheezing," she said.

"I said 'are you allergic to nuts?' and he said no but that he had had a reaction before.

Ms Ware was in tears as the court was told she blamed herself for his death.

Consultant histopathologist Dr Anthony Williams said Mr Birch's anaphylaxis was sudden and unheralded, and could have been brought on by his history of asthma and by alcohol consumption.

"He could have been exposed to any of this at any time," he said.

Coroner Veronica Hamilton-Deeley said no-one was responsible for Mr Birch's death and that it was merely "incredible bad luck".

She said his reaction was "unstoppable and rapid" and that even if there had been a doctor close by, very little could have been done to save him.



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