Page last updated at 11:51 GMT, Wednesday, 6 August 2008 12:51 UK

Man choked in cake-eating contest

Adam Deeley
Adam Deeley was seen trying to cough out the cakes he had swallowed

A mature student choked to death after an "impromptu" challenge by a friend to see who could eat the most fairy cakes, an inquest has heard.

Adam Deeley, 34, from Birmingham, and his friends were at the opening night of a photography exhibition in Swansea.

Two of his friends put up to four cakes from the buffet in their mouths.

Mr Deeley tried to eat five but began choking and collapsed on the floor. Swansea Coroner Phillip Rogers recorded a verdict of misadventure.

Mr Deeley and his friends were at Monkey café in Swansea in February this year, where he had worked for the previous year while finishing a three-year graphic design university course.

Steven Jenkins, who was part of the group, said: "There was a tray of cakes left over from the buffet - my friend put three cakes in his mouth so I tried four.

There was cake around his mouth and I could hear and see that he was trying to cough
Bar manager Daniel Finzelbach

"They were small, only an inch-and-a-half across but I struggled with four. My friend must have told Adam what we were doing and he put five cakes in his mouth.

"I could see that he was struggling to eat them but then he walked across to the toilets. I thought he wanted to spit them out, I didn't know he was choking at that point.

"I only realised how serious it was a minute or two later when other people ran to help him.

Monkey Cafe
Mr Deeley was with friends at the Monkey café

Mr Deeley's work colleague, bar manager Daniel Finzelbach, a former lifeguard, said: "I realised Adam was in trouble as he walked towards the toilets - his body was convulsing.

"There was cake around his mouth and I could hear and see that he was trying to cough. I ran to the toilet and started slapping his back as hard as I could.

"Then I tried the Heimlich manoeuvre but he collapsed on the floor and I called for an ambulance."

Mr Deeley, who was not working that night, had gone to the bar for the opening of an exhibition by a photographer friend.

He was in the third year of his degree and planned to emigrate to New Zealand after graduating.

The inquest heard he had been one-and-a-half-times the drink driving limit on the night of his death.

Swansea Coroner Phillip Rogers said: "Clearly, any activity involving putting large amounts of food in the mouth is dangerous.

"It does not take me to say this sort of thing should be avoided."


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