Handyman’s death in her armchair shocks pensioner

Poplar Coroners Court

Poplar Coroners Court - Credit: Archant

A handyman had been dead in a chair for some time, but the pensioner whose flat he had come to decorate thought he was just asleep.

Jonathan Davidson turned up at Ireni Robertson’s flat in Homerton on September 7 to do some painting.

But the 45-year-old from Littlebury Road, Clapham, was being sick when he arrived, and Mrs Robertson allowed him to rest in the armchair in her living room.

It wasn’t until 8pm that she called the ambulance when she started to get worried, and paramedics pronounced him dead.

Mrs Robertson had been recommended the man, who she only knew as Jon by Grainne O’Kill, his girlfriend.

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In a statement read out to Poplar Coroner’s Court at last week’s inquest into his death, she said: “He was a nice man with nice manners. I trusted Grainne’s judgement. I find it difficult to have people in my home.

“He seemed in good spirits but he was being sick on his arrival, he seemed to be asleep and I didn’t want to disturb him. But I was worried when I saw his arms were mottled and I was frightened something was wrong.

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“I’m dreadfully shocked this young man died, and I can’t believe he passed away in my home. That is traumatic for me.”

The court heard the painter and decorator had been an alcoholic since the mid-’90s, and a pathology report found 115mg of alcohol in his urine – slightly over the driving limit of 80mg – and traces of the tranquiliser diazepam. But there was a fatal level of the sedative and heroin substitute, methadone, in his blood

Coroner William Dolman ruled that Mr Davidson died of mixed alcohol and drug toxicity, and concluded his death was alcohol and drug related.

Ireni Robertson


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