Heart problems caused death of young pub cook

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A YOUNG chef who died following a fall is believed to have suffered an abnormal heart rhythm, an inquest heard.

Luke Lee, aged 24, had been for a night out with pal Craig Judson, landlord of The Old Pump pub at Barlow, where he worked.

The pair were given a lift home from Chesterfield at 3am last August and had picked up takeaway food to eat back at the pub.

Mr Judson told the Chesterfield inquest he went into the kitchen to fetch some cutlery and, on his return, found the door was jammed shut.

He used a different exit and found Mr Lee collapsed behind the door, at the foot of a staircase. He threw water on his face to rouse him but, noticing his lips were turning blue, called emergency services.

“I tried doing mouth to mouth but the air just came back out. Then the ambulance came and I thought he would be okay,” said Mr Judson.

But Mr Lee, who lived in Warsop, Notts, died at the scene.

A post-mortem examination gave the main cause as asphyxia following concussion from the fall. But examination of the heart by a specialist found defects that could cause sudden collapse from an abnormal heart rhythm.

North Derbyshire Coroner Dr Robert Hunter said the heart was analysed because of a history of heart disease in Mr Lee’s family. “I don’t feel alcohol played any significant part in Luke’s death. We now know there were structural abnormalities to the heart and I think an arrhythmia caused him to collapse.”

He recorded a verdict of death from natural causes.