Woman chokes on ham and dies in Bognor Regis

Stanley Court in Montgomery Drive, Bognor Regis. Picture: Google Maps
Stanley Court in Montgomery Drive, Bognor Regis. Picture: Google Maps

A woman who lived in Bognor Regis died after choking on a piece of ham, an inquest heard.

Marie Hopkins, 85, died at home in Stanley Court - sheltered accomodation in Montgomery Drive - on February 13.

At the inquest into her death at Crawley Coroner's Court on Tuesday, assistant coroner Lisa Milner concluded that the retired restaurant owner's death was accidental.

She said: "Marie Hopkins died after accidentally choking on some food; therefore, my decision concerning the death is that it was an accident.

"I would like to pass on my sincere sympathies to the family of the deceased."

The inquest heard that the York native moved to Sussex 20 years ago to be nearer to her sister, but her health and mobility got worse over time.

The type 2 diabetes sufferer also had spine damage which meant that her legs were very swollen and she could not stand.

She had several carers to help her, and had no problem with swallowing, but could not cut up her food because her hands were weak.

However, her carers would not always cut up her food because it was not in her care plan, the inquest heard.

On the day of her death, at 9.47am, Ms Hopkins' carers hoisted her into her wheelchair and moved her into the lounge, where she had some Weetabix with nectarine, banana and other fruits. They returned to check on her around an hour later and she was fine.

At 12.25pm, she was served a ham salad - but when her carers returned at 4.30pm, she was sitting unresponsive in her chair.

She was hoisted to the floor and she was given CPR while an ambulance was called. But when paramedics arrived, she was declared dead at the scene.

Police also attended, and found there were no suspicious circumstances.

A post mortem held on February 15 found she died of asphyxia and upper airway obstruction from meat.