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Man found collapsed in Clare Country Park died of hypothermia, coroner concludes

PUBLISHED: 18:23 29 March 2019 | UPDATED: 18:23 29 March 2019

John Harding was found collapsed in Clare Country Park on February 27 Picture: PHIL MORLEY

John Harding was found collapsed in Clare Country Park on February 27 Picture: PHIL MORLEY

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A man found collapsed though hypothermia in Clare Country Park near Sudbury died as a result of an accident, a coroner has concluded.

John Harding, 46, of Highfield, Clare, died at West Suffolk Hospital on February 28 having been found face down and unresponsive in the park by a member of the public early the previous morning.

Nigel Parsley, Suffolk’s senior coroner, said that Mr Harding had travelled down from Scotland, where he had been living, to visit his father who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness.

He said that Mr Harding had left his parents’ home the evening before he was found saying he was going for a drink in the park.

His mother Patricia Harding said in a statement that she had woken early on February 28 and phoned her son’s friend as he hadn’t returned home.

She went out to walk his dog in Clare County Park, near Sudbury, and spotted a man conducting CPR on what she thought was a dog.

Keen to help, she went to get a defibrillator but as she looked down, she realised it was her who was being treated,

Mr Parsley said police, the fire service, ambulance crews and the air ambulance attended the scene.

Mr Harding was admitted to the intensive care unit at West Suffolk Hospital but despite the best efforts of the medical staff he could not be revived.

Mrs Harding described her son as a “well-liked man” with a passion for motorbikes who had been renovating a vintage motorcycle at the time of his death.

Her statement read: “He was a very laid back, gentle person.

“John looked really well and was so pleased to be home so what happened to him was a real tragedy.”

Friends posted tributes on social media following news of his death.

One said: “He was a very kind and thoughtful person, always had the time to chat, and ask after the family.”

A post mortem revealed Mr Harding died of multiple organ failure as a result of an out of hospital cardiac arrest brought on by hypothermia.

The inquest heard Mr Harding had issues with alcohol in the past, although it was believed he had turned a corner.

Mr Parsley issued a conclusion of accidental death due to the effects of hypothermia.

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